Ipagdiwang natin ang pagiging National Artist ni Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera para sa Literatura.
Si Ka Bien ay dati nang pinarangalan bilang Ramon Magsaysay awardee. Si ay kasalukuyang tagapangulo ng Concerned Artists of the Philippines at ng Board of Trustees ng Kodao Productions. Dati rin siyang tagapangulo ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
Si Ka Bien ay dating detenidong pulitikal sa ilalim ng batas militar. Nagturo siya sa UP, DLSU at ADMU. Isa siya sa binigyang parangal ng ILPS Philippines chapter sa kanyang di matatawarang ambag sa pakikibaka para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya ng ating bansa.
Tunay na alagad ng sining at lingkod ng sambayan. Ka Bien Lumbera. Mabuhay!
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
National Artist for Literature
THIS year Bienvenido Lumbera has been named National Artist for Literature. He fully deserves this award, having received the Ramon Msagsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communcation Arts in 1993. Two years earlier he was conferred the Gawad CCP sa Sining (Cultural Research) by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). In 1999 he was one of 100 Filipinos given the Gawad Sentenyal sa Sining at Kultura also by the CCP. In 2000 he was conferred the Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi by the Ateneo de Manila University.
Beneath this constellation of honors is a solid rock of achievement in creative writing, literary criticism, and scholarly research in Philippine literature and related fields like arts and culture.
As creative artist, he has a volume of poems in English and Filipino titled, Likhang Dila, Likhang Diwa (1993), reissued in 2002 with additional poems as Balaybay, mga Tulang Lunot at Manibalang. He wrote the librettos of the musicals Tales of the Manuvu (1997), Ang Palabas Bukas (1979), Rama, Hari (1980), Bayani (1985), Noli Me Tangere the Musical (1994), and Ang Sarsuwela sa San Salvador (1997). For the stage, he wrote an adaptation Nasa Puso ang Amerika (1984) of Carlos Bulosan's novel America is in the Heart. His zarzuela Hibik at Himagsik nina Victoria Lactaw won an award in the National Centennial Literary Contest. His plays were put together in a volume, Bayani, Noli, Nasa Puso and Hibik, by De La Salle University Press in 2003.
As literary historian and critic, Lumbera has co-edited with his wife Cynthia Nograles the benchmark Philippine Literature: History and Anthology (1982, 1997) and was general editor of Filipinos Writing: Philippine Literature from the Regions (2001). He has authored Tagalog Poetry (1570-1898): Tradition and Influences in its Development (1986); Revaluation: Essays on Philippine Literature, Cinema and Popular Culture (1984); Abot-Tanaw: Sulyap at Suri sa Nagbabagong Kultura at Lipunan (1987); Revaluation 1997 (1997); and Writing the Nation/Pag-Akda ng Bansa (2000). In 2005, Rosario Torres-Yu put out a selection of his critical essays in Filipino to supplement her study Bayan at Lipunan, Ang Kritisismo ni Bienvenido Lumbera.
Besides his creative writings and work in literary scholarship Lumbera (a Ph.D. in comparative literature) is one who believes that the creative writer/critic does not only interpret society but also change it if need be. Hence, he has been seen leading a protest march or reciting a patriotic poem in rallies or signing a manifesto. He was jailed during martial law for heading a nationalist writers group. Lumbera thus moves in the tradition of Filipino writers and artists from Balagtas to the 1896 Revolution onto the current unceasing struggle for sovereignty, social justice, freedom and democracy. It may be noted that Amado Hernandez, who wrote many of his works in prison, was the first National Artist for Literature (albeit posthumously awarded).
Bienvenido Lumbera's writings (solid work as they are) cannot be seen apart from his patriotism and commitment to social change. Like Hernandez, he gives added meaning and dimension to the formal title National Artist for Literature.