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Carlos Bulosan's handwritten notes courtesy of E. San Juan, Jr.

Our Own Voice steps out of its virtual world and into the actual to coordinate a symposium on Carlos Bulosan at the Library of Congress in Washington , D.C. We are the Library's partner to reintroduce the writings of Bulosan to the general public. Carlos Bulosan is the literary icon of early Filipino migrant experience in the United States with his seminal work, America is in the Heart.

The Carlos Bulosan Symposium, under the auspices of the Library's Asian Division Friends Society and the Embassy of the Philippines, is featuring nine panelists and will take place on April 28, 2006 , an all-day affair at the Mumford Room of the Library of Congress.

In this 21 st issue, we include the papers of symposium panelists Dr. E. San Juan, Jr., leading Bulosan scholar, Dr. Tom Libretti of Northeastern Illinois University, Dr. Susan Evangelista of Palawan State University, Dr. Lane Hirabayashi, University of California, Riverside, Ms. Marilyn Alquizola, independent scholar, UCLA (2007) , and Mr. Jeffrey Cabusao, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. Also featured in this issue is, what we have termed, a Quotography featuring Bulosan quotes and the art photography of Paul Tanedo. We have the poetry of Luisa Igloria, artist Frank Redondo's Bulosan sketch portrait, and a commentary by Carlene Bonnivier on "The Romance of Magno Rubio", a Bulosan short story adapted for the stage by Ma-Yi Theater http://www.ma-yitheater.org .

We owe it to Carlos Bulosan to rescue his works from oblivion and reiterate the great faith he had in America's ideals. By focusing on his body of literature, the symposium is expected to bring to today's readers the ideology, philosophy and vision of a great Filipino mind who valued the idea of what America was, and what it is universally to all peoples. Bulosan's works and words affirm the current struggle of marginalized groups, and it is the relevance of this man's raw response to the conditions that surrounded him then that still haunts us today and will be likewise relevant to future generations.

Bulosan's grave and longtime companion, Josephine Patrick.
Photo courtesy of Sonny Sampayan

Saturday, April 29 marks the formal opening of the Carlos Bulosan Archives at the Library of Congress Asian Division on the occasion of the annual meeting of the LOC Asian Division Friends Society. There will be a performance reading by Veronica Montes from her prize-winning short story "Bernie Aragon, Jr. Looks for Love", http://www.oovrag.com/stories/stories2005d-1.shtml , a rendition of kundimans by Stephen Shey and a new musical composition by Rod Garcia on Carlos Bulosan.

The goal of the Library of Congress and Our Own Voice is to make the LOC Asian Division the central and permanent repository of Carlos Bulosan papers for future scholars and researchers. More importantly, this initiative is directed towards the creation of a Filipino American Archives (as opposed to merely housing Filipiniana historical material) in the nation's capital. Papers submitted for the Carlos Bulosan Symposium will comprise the start of hopefully a growing collection of the literature, art and history of Americans of Filipino descent.   All through 2006, OOV is inviting scholars, historians and writers to submit papers, essays, short stories and photographic documentation on the times that Bulosan lived in, critiques on his works, the reasons why Filipinos were recruited as migrant workers, the society's acceptance of Filipinos, and/or what events precipitated the anti-Filipino attitude in the West Coast. The goal is to collect these studies / scholarly papers as well as Manong literature, in addition to the papers read at the Carlos Bulosan Symposium, into an anthology to be published jointly by the LOC Asian Division and Our Own Voice.


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copyright 2006

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