Edith L. Tiempo
National Artist for Literature (1999)
(April 22, 1919 – August 21, 2011)
A poet, fictionist, teacher and literary critic, Edith L. Tiempo is one of the finest Filipino writers in English. Her works are characterized by a remarkable fusion of style and substance, of craftsmanship and insight. Born on April 22, 1919 in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, her poems are intricate verbal transfigurations of significant experiences as revealed, in two of her much anthologized pieces, “The Little Marmoset” and “Bonsai”. As fictionist, Tiempo is as morally profound. Her language has been marked as “descriptive but unburdened by scrupulous detailing.” She is an influential tradition in Philippine literature in English. Together with her late husband, Edilberto K. Tiempo, she founded and directed the Silliman National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete City, which has produced some of the country’s best writers.
Tiempo’s published works include the novel A Blade of Fern (1978), The Native Coast (1979), and The Alien Corn (1992); the poetry collections, The Tracks of Babylon and Other Poems (1966), and The Charmer’s Box and Other Poems(1993); and the short story collection Abide, Joshua, and Other Stories (1964).