Among the emergent voices in Philippine Literature in the past decade up to the present, the most exciting to read and listen to are those of the women in the Visayas and Mindanao who are writing poetry and fiction in Cebuano. Never before since the “golden age of Cebuano literature” from 1900-1940 have the creative work of women seen such burgeoning. And this growth is substantiated by the creative work published in three literary anthologies by women, namely Centering Voices (1995), Fern Garden: Anthology of Women Writing in the South (1998), and Sinug-ang: A Cebuano Trio (1999). This paper focuses on the poetry written in Cebuano by women who are breaking new ground in the tradition of the balak, and who are bringing this tradition farther in imaginative power and reach. In particular, it will present the literary themes and issues these women are writing on, and also show how these issues are tackled by the language of poetry.
Cebuano poetry, Philippine literature, regional writing, women poets