Another Jose is included in the anthology. Jose Garcia Villa... His poems reflect that he is an immigrant, he used strawberries, girafffes, larks, tiger, oranges as his literary device when we have mangoes, calamansi, tamaraw, carabao, maya in the Philippines... My quick thought is that this only means that being a Filipino and being somewhere is already a definition of a Filipino... So sad he is ironically the only one listed under the title: Filipinos writing in English when I noted that there are at least three Indonesian poets under Indonesian. He is under the 20th century entry. The editors should dig more Filipino poets and add ones that write of Filipino culture or traditions.
But this does not mean that the poem posted did not mean anything to me. Actually, poems should also have universal voice, so I must give it to Villa that in his poem, Now I Prize Yellow Strawberries, where he effectively trumpeted the belief in one's intellectual capacity, whether or not it brings wealth or general appreciation. Though Villa recognizes God's greatness in the third paragraph, he fearlessly announced man's intellectual genius.
While not reflective of Filipino culture, this is a reflection of a man's intellectual pursuit.
Now I Prize Yellow Strawberries
Jose Garcia Villa
Now I prize yellow strawberries
With their dignities of silk and
Their archbispal opulence
Rivaling God the peacock only.
Assuming neither space nor time
A purely intellectual fruit,
Yet of matchless elegance.
This Is my intellectual religion.
For I would not have bishops lean
Nor peacocks irreligious, but
Temper them to that great gold pitch
Of the first-ascending bridegroom.
So, to the tune of yellow strawberries,
Announce to philosophy my arrival
O a little irreverent perhaps
But religiously, peerlessly musical.