By Deneb R. Batucan
Image: N.S. Villaflor
WITH wit as sharp as Arya Stark’s Needle, Adonis Durado has rightfully mastered the art of evoking emotion through a short stack of carefully constructed phrases. His words are biting in a jocular sense, but always with an afterthought — a soul, perhaps his.
Career-wise, Adonis is an internationally awarded graphic artist and illustrator and has helped in launching and redesigning many magazines and newspapers in Europe, Middle East, Africa, including SunStar Cebu and SunStar Weekend. But he has always bears a passion for poetry, more specifically, the balak.
It was during college when Adonis realized he had an inkling for poetry that he started to write seriously. He chose Cebuano as the language for his poems since for him, he has the mastery of the language, more so than English or Tagalog. “For me, it’s intrinsically onomatopoeic. I also find it adaptable and easy to bend,” he said.
Adonis has received many accolades for his poetry over the years, including an Emmanuel Lacaba Prize for Cebuano Poetry awarded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. To date, Adonis has four Cebuano poetry books to his name: Dili Tanan Matagak Mahagbong (2008), Minugbo Alang sa Mugbo og Kalipay (2009), Lisay sa Bugan (2016), and, launched last August 9, Pahinungod sa Di Hintungdan.
“Each book pursues various themes or conceits. If ever there’s similarity, perhaps readers will notice that I have been very constant in my approach to poetry — I experiment and exploit various poetic techniques,” he said.
Experiment and exploit he does with his fourth poetry book Pahinungod sa Di Hintungdan, which contains four chapters, each containing 15 poems.
“For the Faithless” is about ars poetica or the art of poetry; “For the Speechless” is about language; “For the Humorless” is about humor; and “For the Worthless” is about life’s meaning, irony and paradox.
Looking at each chapter of Adonis’ newest book, it contains four things that the writer has often written about: the art of poetry, language, humor and life itself. These are things that has given him inspiration, themes that have driven him to write snippets of words — powerful words.
“Someone said that poetry is the language of the soul. Well, I subscribe to that,” he said.
And that he does. With more books to come from Adonis Durado — two are in the pipeline, he said — there is more of his soul for him to bare to the world. His pending new adventure to the US for a graduate study at the Ohio University would probably arouse motivation for new poetry from him. There is no stopping a man as passionate as he is for his craft.