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National Artist for Literature (1990)

(September 6, 1916 – August 1, 2002)

Francisco Arcellana, writer, poet, essayist, critic, journalist and teacher, is one of the most important progenitors of the modern Filipino short story in English. He pioneered the development of the short story as a lyrical prose-poetic form. For Arcellana, the pride of fiction is “that it is able to render truth, that is able to present reality”. Arcellana kept alive the experimental tradition in fiction, and had been most daring in exploring new literary forms to express the sensibility of the Filipino people. A brilliant craftsman, his works are now an indispensable part of a tertiary-level-syllabi all over the country. Arcellana’s published books are¬†Selected Stories (1962), Poetry and Politics: The State of Original Writing in English in the Philippines Today (1977), The Francisco Arcellana Sampler(1990).

“The names which were with infinite slowness revealed, seemed strange and stranger still; the colors not bright but deathly dull; the separate letters spelling out the names of the dead among them, did not seem to glow or shine with a festive sheen as did the other living names.”

(from “The Mats”, ¬†Philippine Contemporary Literature, 1963)

Some of his short stories are Frankie, The Man Who Would Be Poe, Death in a Factory, Lina, A Clown Remembers, Divided by Two, The Mats, and his poems being The Other Woman, This Being the Third Poem This Poem is for Mathilda, To Touch You and I Touched Her, among others.

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