Development of Philippine Poetry in English
In 1898, the U.S. president William McKinley (1843-1901) announced that it wasthe United States' moral duty to take possession of the Philippine Islands because theFilipinos had to be civilized, educated, and Christianized. After U.S. soldiers "pacified"the native population during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), thousandsof U.S. teachers were sent throughout the archipelago to teach the Filipinos the Englishlanguage. In just a few years, English became the privileged form of expressionfor poets, prose writers, and dramatists. The earliest Filipino poems written in Englishwere published in 1905 in Berkeley, California, in The Filipino Students' Magazine,which was edited by pensionados (Philippine-American government scholars). The firstbook of poetry written in English, Azucena (1925) by Marcelo De Gracia Concepcion(1895-1954), was published in the United States by G. P. Putnam's Sons. The mostinfluential Filipino poet, Jose Garcia Villa (1908±1997), lived most of his adult life in NewYork City. His books are Have Come, Am Here (Viking Press, 1942), Volume Two (NewDirections, 1949), and Selected Poems and New (McDowell, Obolensky, 1958). Anotherearly immigrant Filipino poet was Carlos Bulosan (1911±1956), who published politicalpoems in American magazines like The New Yorker, Poetry (edited by Harriet Monroe)and Saturday Evening Post.In Manila in 1940, the Commonwealth Literary Prize in English poetry was given toRafael Zulueta Da Costa (1915-1990) for Like the Molave and Other Poems.Native themes were well represented by such local poets.