First, about the author, Denver Ejem Torres. He is a poet and essayist. He writes in two languages, English and Bisaya. (Hoorah!) He earned his degree in English Literature & Literature Studies from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.
His poems have been published in the Philippines, Singapore, India, and the USA. His essay “Restoring The Lost Hiniktan” has been included in Kritika Kultura’s anthology of Contemporary Philippine Essay. In 2013, his essay “How Gemino Abad Got Me Published” won in the 12th My Favorite Book Awards, an essay writing contest sponsored by National Bookstore and Philippine Star.
Hate-eating birds is his first book.
Denver and I met at a National Bookstore branch in Cebu, years ago. Back then, I was oblivious of what he does or what I was in for. I was browsing around as you do for a bookworm who barely afford books. What I usually have in my ear are my earphones, listening to screaming music, punk, pop-punk, metal, most of the time K-Pop. Sue me. What I had in mind was getting Wuthering Heights and Murakami, go to the cashier and dash home. Was still hesitant to dive on such big books back then. Since I do not, for the life of me, hear my surroundings, I was kind of surprised he approached me and asked about what I like to read and why I chose to pick Brontë and Murakami. I am really interested in these beautiful masterpieces. Long story short, I met a friend and a poet.
I never knew he had a book published, until recently when he asked me if I had read his work. As for some one who regularly goes to bookstores, I was not sure if I missed this or not. But these pretty book was just sold to only three bookstores (that I know in Cebu):
- RightReads, J Mall
- Casa Gorordo, and
- Palm Grass
Which for someone who does not go out much, do not really know where I should go. Enough of that, I just got the chance to read the book and I really did not know I was in for. I was faced with so much political controversies, private situations, and a comical side of the author.
The collection is separated into 6 parts. Where the author has poured out every thing from 2010 – 2016.
I am one of those people who does not really have any political interest, nor can I discuss politics with people. I do not hate the subject, nor do I like it. This is where colleagues start to argue. We have enough drama in our lives already to have one more. What I really like with the poems that talks about the country’s economic stand and its ties with China and other countries in our world is it is put in to words people would understand and enjoy at the same time. Again, I do not have much to say about politics, I cannot put things into words for the life of me.
There are poems that made me sit up straight from my bed while reading. The curious in me, woke up from a nap. These are the poems that I love from the collection:
- One Morning in California
- Talking Sylvia Plath out of it
- What the Fortune Teller said
- Chased by this crazy cold thing
- Lola’s china
- Swallowing the sun on a Sunday
I do not know how I can put into words for the rest of the parts. But Denver did made me remember how simple it was back in the day. Where you just visit your Lola in the province, where they reprimand you to no longer go out at after 6PM because engkantos will make fun of you, where your dad or your Lolo would bring in the belt if you get into the house an minute late. Yes, there are parts of these collection that shocked me because it was too personal to read, and only a worthy few should know. I felt like I was eavesdropping and making chismis over my mom’s amiga‘s affair. And I enjoyed every bit of it. As soon as I finished the book, I kept flipping it wanting more.
If you are reading this, and from Cebu (because I am not really sure if this is available nationwide), buy the book.
For the author
Denver, I am happy to have met you oh so unexpectedly. I could never have it any other way. I am so sorry if I was so awkward back then. I am happy that I got to read a part of you. I wish to see your work in bigger bookstores, we’ll get there. And I hope to read more of your works in the future. And hopefully, I can get this book signed as well.
And oh, I got one of your pictures off Instagram.