Notes for “Aso sa Tabi”

Not a lot of poetry written in Filipino has been translated to English or any other language. This has to do with the predominance of English as the medium of instruction in most schools and universities (or at least when I was still living in the Philippines), and as the official language in most spheres held by the elite. Translation has been limited to a handful of works so far, but hopefully this will soon change. With the continued interest in world literature and the ease of finding venues for publication via the internet, translation opens a crucial door for Filipino poetry.

“Aso sa Tabi” was originally written in 1991 and appeared in my first book, Beneath an Angry Star (Anvil Publishing, Manila 1992). I moved to Cape Town, South Africa in 1994 and have had less direct literary links with the Philippines since.

This translation was written with very good feedback from members of an online forum at Various versions were presented to the members – none of whom could read Filipino. The poem had to undergo many changes, including the title which would have literally been “Dog on the Side” (sounds like something from a menu!).

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

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