One of the most challenging literary events of the last decade which took place in Athens was undoubtedly the lecture of Nadine Gordimer. It was a memorable experience to hear this tiny, silver haired lady speak with a soft but steady voice of some of her country’s unsolved problems: analphabetism and semi-alphabetism, poverty, racism, the transition from the racist regime to the democratic state,
1. Question: Is there one school or philosophy of writing which is particularly compelling to you?
No. There are certain writers who have strongly influenced me. Among more recent writers I think of Glenway Wescott, Mark Helprin, Iris Murdoch, A.S. Byatt, Elmore Leonard, John D. MacDonald, and of course Hemingway. In a way, I missed my calling as a scholar. I was suited to the scholarly life, but not institutions. I get lost in a crowd of three people. I don’t have good enough filters to deal with more than two or three people in any circumstance, and so this unsuited me for universities. But I have read voraciously and eclectically all my life, even scholarly works. In my early 20s and throughout my 30s I tended to write experimental and often obscurantist poems. Some of them were published in literary journals, and I did receive some encouragement from poets like Rolfe Humphries and Alan Dugan. But in time I began to recognize that I didn’t want to be caught saying what I meant or meaning what I said.
Tell me the colour of words, the rainbow phrases splashed across the daily canvas, like when seagulls skate through lilac clouds and desert crabs hone their calligraphy skills across the burnt sienna sand.
It was Stephen Krashen who pointed out the importance of exposure in the context of second language acquisition-learning. We remember some of our grandparents here in the Philippines who studied under the Thomasites and we marvel at their English proficiency given that some of them did not even finish tertiary education due to the economic and social disruptions brought by the war.