Contributors: Joseph Bruchac, Susan Strayer Deal, Paula Gunn Allen, Barbara Schmitz , David Wilk, Nathaniel Mackey, Arthur Brown, Michael Kabotie, Paul Gunn Allen, Allen De Loach, Gary Snyder, Gloria Hulk, Peter Carlos, Walter Bargen, Michael Castro, Dan Spell, Shirley LeFlore, James Doyle, Gary Lawless, Ishmael Reed, LeRoy V. Quintana, Quincy Troupe, Phil Gounis, Robert Dyer, Jerred Metz, Bern Porter, Robert Salasin, Jim Ruppert, George Myers, Jr., Jim Bogan, Karen Heideman, James Sherry, Carlos Suarez, Will Alexander, Galen Green, Michael Corr
The title poem is a landmark in the history of Tagalog poetry because of its
deliberate subversion of traditional poetry as exemplified in the works of Lope K.
Santos and Jose Corazon de Jesus. When it was first published in Liwayway
magazine in 1940, the poem provoked strong reactions not only from the more
established poets but even from Abadilla’s own contemporaries like Clodualdo del
Mundo, who dismissed it as a non-poem. This poem is a celebration of ako— the
free, independent, dynamic self, which constitutes a world of its own. Its subject
matter is the art of poetry and the role of the poet in this act of creation; hence,
unlike traditional poetry, it is not meant to convey a moral. Moreover, like most of
the other poems in this collection, it is written in a manner which violates all the rules
of traditional poetry, especially those of rhyme and meter, so that its publication
signalled the emergence of a new kind of poetry bearing the imprint of modernism
imported from the West.