In Stitches: Con/Refiguring the Language of Wit and Humour in Contemporary Filipino Poetry in English
Philippine poetry in English is rarely read as humorous text, but the period from the 1970's to the present is seen as creating a liberating space for poetry, and I posit that part of this â€œliberationâ€ is the rise of new poets whose awareness of and engagement with language, result in works that could actually be seen as humorous, in which humour is seen as more than just universal mirth over human folly, but is consciously delineated as a sharp, if not violent, recognition of incongruities and incongruences in expected reality.
Â Â In the poems of contemporary Filipino poets Paolo Manalo, in his acclaimed collectionÂ JolographyÂ (2003), and Isabel Banzon, inÂ Paper CageÂ (1990) andÂ Lola CoquetaÂ (2009), Filipino humour becomes a way to imagineÂ communitasÂ as the poems in these collections use linguistic play, breakage of language, creation of hybrid language in Filipino and English to respond to new Philippine social realities or re/create social hierarchies in the Philippines by repositioning or questioning individual and communal states in which Filipinos find meaning.Â
Â Â By using the incongruity humour theory and linguistic humour theories, this paper seeks to examine the language of humour and wit in representative poems from these collections by Manalo and Banzon, and attempts to centre a new sense of creativity possible in Asian writing that now explores the potencies of humour not just as a generator of laughter, but as entries into psychical, cultural and national delineations of identities and awarenesses.
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