Spoken word artist bridges written poetry and performance

NEW YORK — Poet, author and spoken word artist Patrick Rosal is the recipient of the 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry.

The prestigious Guggenheim fellowship is an award worth more than $43,000, given to those with exceptional creative ability in the arts.

“How unlikely it is that the son of Ilokano immigrant, who came here to the us before 1965, has written these books and has been embraced by the American literary community,” Rosal shared.

“I think the thing that gave me an edge in the literary worlds, Filipinos are amazing story tellers; we love stories, we love the tele-novelas in the Philippines, we love tsismis, we love all kind of story telling,” he added. “We are natural story-tellers.”

But as story-tellers, Rosal also believes that there is a disconnect, because Filipinos are not necessarily voracious readers.

“I think one of the reasons why we don’t read, is that culturally, especially here in the US, there’s a split between the stories that are in the books and the stories that come out of our own lives.”

Rosal says to bridge that gap, it is key to get more Filipinos to read books — not just by Filipino authors.

The associate professor of creative writing at Rutgers University-Camden was also a finalist for the 2017 Kingsley Tufts poetry awards for his newest book, Brooklyn Antedeluvian.


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