This introduction to Victor Mangubat’s maiden Roadmap appearance attempts to give the reader a glimpse of the process that went into the making of this collection. While the poems speak pretty much for themselves, the process involved so many unusual things.
The first unusual thing is that Mangubat is relatively a masochist when it comes to editing. Unlike other poets who would lay down their lives to keep a particular word or punctuation mark in its original position, Mangubat has repeatedly bared his figurative jugular to as many literary butchers as he could find. He actually laughs when one slashes with ballpoint saber at his work. Perhaps deep down inside he seethes but, somehow, he channels all that hate into a new poem!
The second unusual thing is that Mangubat went about writing the way a non-carpenter would go about making a cabinet. He started from scratch, about a year ago, and today is still scratching — his grammar and spelling are unforgivable but somehow his synchronicity with the primeval and the profound makes his readers content to patch up his work in exchange for the vicarious experience of his images and observations.
The third unusual thing is that Mangubat experiments with putting his work into Pilipino (Tagalog) and Visayan. Unlike many poets, he is actually concerned with communicating!
The fourth unusual thing, and this is related to the third, is that Mangubat has spent a lot of pesos on xerox copies of his poetry for his many editor/friends. Several of his poems have been done in his own style of “calligraphy” that makes them a visual experience as well.
The fifth unusual thing is that Mangubat, is intensely aware of poetry as but one of the forms available to an artist. He has not succumbed to the jealous possessiveness of a single muse. He continues to grow, to expand his vocabulary of form, and to infect those he approaches for advice with the spirit of struggle: for variety of expression, mastery, artistic integrity and survival. JLA.
Road Map Series No. 22
Printed in Davao City