LONDON - Love comes in all forms and, with the month of love in full swing, a new book published by a Filipino writer is attempting to navigate this irrepressible human emotion through poetry and words.
Written, edited and published by Kristian Jeff Cortez Agustin, “For Love and Poetry” delivers 14 chapters of poems tackling different kinds of love, from the classic notion of romance, to the love of family, friends, nature, and even the patriotic love of one’s own country.
|Image courtesy of Kristian Jeff Cortez Agustin
Speaking to ABS-CBN Europe at the University of Westminster in London, where he recently completed his masters in visual culture, Agustin said: “Love is just everywhere. Even if there are lots of pain or bad things that happen around us, love still motivates people. So I realized that we should talk about love more, but not just in the romantic sense, because there are different kinds of love.”
The book features dozens of poems written over the course of 12 years, creating what the writer refers to as “musings” about love since his youth.
“It’s a matter of self-expression. Usually people see poetry as really profound, deep and hard to analyze, hard to understand. But I think we live in poetry in our daily lives because when you feel something, it's quite poetic,” said the 28-year-old poet, who graduated with an Arts Studies degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
He added: “More than a decade ago, I thought it would be nice to explore the idea of love and how it is not just restricted in the romantic sense. So as I grew up and collected more of my poetry, I thought it would be nice to put them together in a book.”
Published in London, the book also features a small collection of work from writers around the world, including Indonesian writer Laksmi Pamuntjak, who was recently featured at the international Poetry Parnassus in London.
It also includes a handful of writers from the Philippines, some of whom contributed to the final chapter of the book with poems written in the Filipino language, Agustin’s homage to his native country and mother tongue.
“There are things that we can’t describe in a second language which is really profound in Filipino, our own language. So by way of writing in Filipino, you’re able to give the book this kind of love to the country as a tribute,” he explained.
Agustin is back in the Philippines where he continues to write while pursuing other creative endeavors through publishing, theatre, design, advertising, and fine arts
On his passion for words, he said: “I love writing and exploring the meaning of words. I realized that if you put these things into poetry, your attempt in capturing love or your feelings makes some kind of sense. I thought it would be a good way to express myself, to explore my feelings, and at the same time communicate this to others, because a book lasts for a long time.”
Agustin is appearing in a poetry evening at UP Vargas Museum on February 14, followed by a book signing on February 16 at his visual-poetry exhibition in vMeme Contemporary Gallery on Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. He is also a guest at the Psych O’Clock Habit on DZUP 1602 Radio on February 21.
“For Love and Poetry” by Kristian Jeff Cortez Agustin is available on Amazon.