Sorry to disappoint. This is not necessarily about poetry. Or mainly about Ana Escalante. Anyway, read on.
Ana Escalante-Neri committed suicided this month in her bedroom in Camputhaw, Cebu City. She was an award-winning poet and a fellow columnist of Sun.Star Cebu. Frankly, I am totally clueless about here. We must have bumped into each other in the lobby of Sun.Star building. But I certainly do not have an image of her in my mind.
Before I became a professional journalist I was into poetry and fiction. I attended the UP Writers and the Faigao workshops. I was drawn into literary writing until journalism sucked me away. But I still follow literary developments, especially by literary groups in Cebu. It now looks like I missed Ana’s works.
I won’t venture into analyzing her controversial death, the reason for suicides being complicated. I have read the blogs, including the praise from fellow writers and the fiery exchange on why she died that often deteriorated to blame throwing. What caught me in all these was how far I have veered away from the literary world.
My reaction to those who went too emotionally and intellectually deep in their praise of Ana was a smile. It must have been because as a journalist I am trained to be objective, to be real and, in a sense, to skim the surface. I now understand the comment of a colleague when he heard the literary-minded group in Sun.Star analyze poetry, films, etc. He told me we sounded pretentious.
That was not an insult, of course. It just showed that we literary types occupy a different world that often lift our foot away from the solid ground “ordinary mortals” are standing. It’s elitist, but that is what it is.
—Candido O. Wenceslao, July 24, 2007