Ham dela Torre

emanilapoetry: What draws you to express yourself through poetry and what drew you to poetry in the first place?

Ham: My late father had always encouraged me to read, read, read. Evidently (I would later find out), in order to write, write, write. He passed away not realizing his dream to write the novel to end all novels because it would’ve been written in tandem with me. I miss the days when he would ask me to read out to him the drafts of his pieces (and I would either sneak away or, having no choice, pretend I was loving every minute of it). I had – have – no patience for interminable readings which must be probably the reason why I chose poetry as my medium, not that it is matter-of-course-ly short. I miss him terribly. Not only because I want to really listen to him now but also I want for him to know that his legacy lives on. Belatedly. But bravely. I reckon.

emanilapoetry: How do your current posts compare with the first poem you published on emanilapoetry?

Ham: Let me reverse that. My first poem/s were mediocre, I believe.

emanilapoetry: As you are so attracted to words, how do you feel about the way language is being used in today’s world?

Ham: I’m a reader now, in exactly a discipline and manner my father wanted. Words have the power to praise, persecute, prosecute. No small wonder why they evolved into prayer. Used carelessly, language assumes a character and personality not estranged from a prostitute.

emanilapoetry: One emanilapoetry member once commented: “Pag mas marami ang nahihikayat maging makata sa isang bansa ay mas yumayabong ang kultura ng bansang iyon.” In what way or ways can poetry enrich a nation’s culture?

Ham: Poetry, when lifted to an art form, which many emanilapoetry contributors do effortlessly, proclaims to the world the noble people the Philippines has. That, no matter the bashing and ridicule we often get – and sometimes deserve – there is no dumbing down our rich literary heritage.

emanilapoetry: Any advice you have for those who want to have their hands on poetry?

Ham: Keep at it. But do it with caution and honest introspection. It takes passion and soul to write. Especially, there is no taking for granted the shortness of any piece.Care and thought should be considered before the finished product goes to print. Being open to critique, no matter how harsh or disruptive, is a healthy avenue towards growth and maturity, qualities inherent in any writer worth one’s salt, or ink.

*** More about Ham.