Diptych/Díptico, my first bilingual poetry book

book promo14.jpgNeguri, Spain: Diptych/Díptico, my first bilingual poetry collection, was released early last month. It consists of over one hundred poems in both English and Spanish. I wrote it as my small contribution to the resurgent efforts to promote and revive the Spanish language as a lengua franca in the Philippines. Since much of over three hundred years of Philippine history is written in Spanish, I believe that the Spanish language holds the key to Philippine national identity.

The artworks of Spanish multimedia artist Vicente Jáuregui are featured throughout the book, along with a single work of my younger sister, Louella Centina Garnado. Introducing the book is Spanish poet Antonio Aguirre and writing the prologue and the epilogue, respectively, are Spanish author Josemaría Alonso Alonso de Linaje and Spanish editor and educator Ana Maria Romo de Miguel. Foremost Filipino writer in Spanish Guillermo Gómez Rivera praises the book for advancing the Hispanic roots of the Philippines.

Augustinian Order picks latest honorary member

Adobe Spark-16The ecclesial community of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen last week erupted into cheers and applause when one of their members was formally bestowed the honor of being a “son of the Augustinian Order” for his contributions to the mission of the Order of St. Augustine.

Luis Ignacio Sáez Amo, a long-time parishioner of Iglesia del Carmen, was chosen from a number of candidates submitted by the Augustinian community here to Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón, father general of the Order of St. Augustine. From Rome, Father Moral issued the decree on February 14, 2017, naming Señor Sáez a son of the Augustinian Order for his “solidarity, friendship and fidelity to our community,” for “his cheerful presence” and for lending his hands to the Order’s numerous activities around Bilbao, Spain. <<READ MORE>>

Rosalba Caffe: Old World Charm in an Italian Coffee Shop

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The town of Nutley in New Jersey is close enough to New York City that residents can drive to Manhattan in less than half an hour if traffic is light or take the train for less aggravation. But they need not travel that far to satisfy their discriminating palates as their town boasts some of the finest dining experiences in the New York metropolitan area.

Among the food establishments that stand out is Rosalba Caffe, which serves what is probably the most authentic espresso, cappuccino and caffé latte in town bar none. Situated along Franklin Avenue, the town’s main drag, the coffee shop is owned and operated by Rosalba Di Irio Tomasella, an amiable and bubbly Italian immigrant who first came to the United States in 1974. Her café is always full of locals who congregate around small tables, where they relish either their favorite beverage or a cone of home-made gelato, a piece of tiramisu and any of the other Italian pastries that Rosalba herself has baked.

Unlike other food establishments in the New York area which tend to limit the time their customers can stay, no one feels rushed to leave Rosalba Caffe. People feel at home there so that they linger to enjoy their orders and chat with friends for as long as they want. <<READ MORE…>>

Portrait of Dylan Thomas

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Cover of El acantilado y otros poemas by Welsh poet and author Robert Edward Gurney.

New York, New York: Along with Robert Burns, Christopher Marlowe, Arthur Rimbaud, Edgar Allan Poe, Sergei Esenin and César Vallejo, Dylan Thomas led a life of nonchalance and poetic disdain for fame and glory. Like them, he died relatively young. And indeed like them, he wrote poetry that will outlive every single one of his detractors. As a literary titan, his works are bound to survive the test of time.

Dylan Thomas’ mastery of his craft is in full display in his use of sprung rhythm and unusual syntaxis that are distinctly his. Who can forget his exhortation to his blind father who was on the verge of dying? “Do not go gentle into that good night” is surely worth remembering even by a non-lover of poetry in a period of storm and stress. His poem “Fern Hill” abounds with earthy images and is guaranteed to sweep one off one’s feet. It is difficult to find inspiration in the artistic perfection of Dylan Thomas without being exposed as a fraud or a hacker with the rare exception of Robert Edward Gurney who succeeds in weaving magic with words in his own inimitable voice.

Robert Edward Gurney, a poet deeply influenced by Wales, has recently published El acantilado y otros poemas (Cambria Books: 2016),  a collection of twelve Spanish poems celebrating Dylan Thomas and according the literary icon with the proper respect he deservesAward-winning poet, fiction writer and lecturer in both Spanish and French, Robert Edward Gurney had studied in the Basque country, Salamanca, Uganda as well as the National University, Córdoba, Argentina. He is a bilingual poet, writing with equal proficiency in both Spanish and English<<READ MORE…>>

One Heart, One Mind Intent Upon God

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Neguri, Spain: Last Thursday, October 20, the feast of Augustinian martyr Saint Magdalena of Nagasaki, Father Alejandro Moral Antón, the Father General of the Order of Saint Augustine, came to visit us his brother Augustinians detailed at Iglesia del Carmen. He was accompanied by the Order’s Assistant General and concurrent President of the Institute of Augustinian Spirituality, Madrid-born Father Luis Marín de San Martín. <<CONTINUE READING>>