To the degree that Philippine literature in English is translational it cannot berealistic: realism is a signifying practice that presupposes a monocultural ground,upon which the “consensus” of representational fidelity can happen. And yet, muchof the criticism of this literature, as produced by Filipinos themselves, has generallyfailed to take note of this crucial precondition, enacting a ruinous category mistakethat, among other things, unwittingly confounds contemporary departures fromthe referential towards the “avant-garde” and/or antimimetic modes, as these areespoused by young Filipino poets and fictionists alike. Finally, this paper arguesthat the various literary practices encoded in Philippine anglophone writing stillneed to be postcolonially specified, their translated or syncretic qualities criticallyrecognized and acknowledged, and that this kind of interpretive labor needs to bemade not only by locally engaged critics but also by Filipino writers who purport tochampion more theoretically informed and self-reflexive “performances” or texts.


anglophone, poetry, Filipino , mimetic , category mistake, avant-garde

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
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University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
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Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)