Hufana, Alejandrino G.
HUFANA, Alejandrino G.
Nationality: Filipino. Born: San Fernando, La Union, Philippines, 22 October 1926. Education: University of the Philippines, Quezon City, A.B. in English 1952, M.A. in comparative literature 1961; University of California, Berkeley (Rockefeller fellowship, 1961–62), 1957–58, 1961–62; Columbia University, New York (John D. Rockefeller III Fund fellowship, 1968–70), M.S. in library science 1969. Military Service: North Luzon guerrillas, 1944. Family: Married Julita Quiming in 1957; four daughters. Career: Secretary and English teacher, Cebu Chinese High School, 1952–54. Research assistant in social science, 1954–56, from 1956 member of the department, and since 1975 professor of English and comparative literature, and associate director, 1979–82, and director, 1982–85, Creative Writing Center, University of the Philippines. Since 1970 director of the library, since 1971 editor, Pamana magazine, and since 1979 editor, Lahi magazine, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila. Co-founding editor, Signatures magazine, 1955, Comment magazine, 1956–67, Pamana magazine, 1959–61, University College Journal, later General Education Journal, 1961–72, and Heritage magazine, 1967–68, managing editor, University of the Philippines Press, 1965–66. Artist: exhibitions in Elmira, New York, 1957, and Manila, to 1978. Awards: Republic Cultural Heritage award, 1965. Address: 22 Casanova Street, B. Culiat, Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.
13 Kalisud. Quezon City, Collegian New Review, 1955.
Sickle Season: Poems of a First Decade 1948–1958. Quezon City, Kuwan, 1959.
Poro Point: An Anthology of Lives: Poems 1955–1960. Quezon City, University of the Philippines, 1961.
The Wife of Lot and Other New Poems. Quezon City, Diliman Review, 1971.
Sieg Heil: An Epic on the Third Reich. Quezon City, Tala, 1975.
Imelda Romualdez Marcos: A Tonal Epic. Manila, Konsensus, 1975.
Obligations: Cheers of Conscience. Quezon City, Diliman Review, 1975.
Dumanon: Dandaniw Iluko. Quezon City, University of Philippines Press, 1994.
Man in the Moon (produced La Union, 1956, Manila, 1970; revised version, produced Quezon City, 1972). Published in Panorama (Quezon City), December 1960.
Curtain-Raisers: First Five Plays (includes Gull in the Wind, Honeymoon, Ivory Tower, Terra Firma, View from Origin). Quezon City, University of the Philippines Social Science Research Council, 1964.
The Unicorn, in Pamana 1 (Manila), June 1971.
Salidom-ay, in Pamana 2 (Manila), September 1971.
Mena Pecson Crisologo and Iloko Drama. Quezon City, Diliman Review, 1963.
Notes on Poetry. Quezon City, Diliman Review, 1973.
Editor, Aspects of Philippine Literature. Quezon City, University of the Philippines, 1967.
Editor, A Philippine Cultural Miscellany, Parts I and II. Quezon City, University of the Philippines, 1968–70.
Editor, with others, Introduction to Literature. Quezon City, Alemar Phoenix, 1974.
Editor, Philippine Writings: Short Stories, Essays, Poetry. Manila, Regal, 1977.*
Manuscript Collections: University of the Philippines Library, Quezon City; University of Syracuse Library, New York; University of California Library, Berkeley; Cultural Center of the Philippines Library, Manila.
Critical Studies: "The Poetry So Far of A.G. Hufana" by Jean Edwardson, in Collegian New Review (Quezon City), January 1954; "Mutineer, Sight Ascending" by Leonard Casper, in The Wayward Horizon: Essays on Modern Philippine Literature, Manila, Community Publishers, 1961; "Poet's Portrait Gallery" by Andres Cristobal Cruz, in Sunday Times (Manila), 26 November 1961; "Dive in a Hypnosis: The Poetry of Alejandrino G. Hufana" by Albert Casuga, in Philippine Writing 2 (Manila), 1963; New Writing from the Philippines: A Critique and Anthology by Leonard Casper, Syracuse, New York, Syracuse University Press, 1966; "Hufana: Rebellious Poet" by Florentino S. Dauz, in Graphic (Manila), 8 September 1966; "A Poet's Romance with Art" by Jolico Cuadra, in Chronicle Magazine (Manila), 1 July 1967; Poetry in the Plays of A.G. Hufana by Bernardita Castillo, University of Bohol, unpublished thesis, 1973.
Alejandrino G. Hufana comments:
The prepublication discipline of any poet should be like the preperformance training of the athlete or prizefighter. All flaws considered in public must, as such, turn the performer back to this grind. Only birds or such creatures are born to the grace of what they do, which also happens to excuse their plunder.* * *
Alejandrino G. Hufana is a fascinating and highly original poet. He studied in the United States and has absorbed much from American poetry, in particular from that neglected master of the epigram, Edwin Arlington Robinson. Deeply rooted in the complex culture of his native country, Hufana employs an ambitiously idiosyncratic diction that some non-Filipino readers have taken as evincing a lack of mastery of the English language-
Unclothing so the Zambul Bali Dag
May for her dead infanta deep be soft
The black she-parent grieving on the crag
A lullaby invokes: "Arrow aloft
Time for your sleep, piece-of-my-thigh,
The fletcher is not false, time for your dream,
Meat will be yours …"
—but this is a serious error. One of Hufana's main aims is to discover and to express what is authentically Filipino. Doing this, given so complicated and foreign-influenced a culture (there are Filipinos writing in the national language, which is an artifact, and in Spanish as well as in English), is bound to yield results that have an odd appearance to the outside world.
Hufana has been called the most successful "anthropological" poet writing in the English language. It is high time that both a British and an American publisher put out a comprehensive selection of his poetry.