(SPOT.ph) At least twice a year, publishing giants in the Philippines take a back seat to make way for independent publishers and self-publishing authors through a small press expo called Better Living Through Xeroxography (a.k.a. BLTX). It started in 2009 and has since sold hundreds of poetry chapbooks, novellas, zines, comics, art prints, postcards, and stickers from writers and artists all over the country. Now on its 11th edition, BLTX comes back to Ilyong’s, a resto-bar in Cubao, on December 9 to sell creative works from participating small presses.
We round up indie publishers to watch for. Come early because most of the stocks are limited. By the way, first 100 bottles of beer are on the house. Not a bad deal, we say!
Who doesn’t know this award-winning fictionist, journalist, and playwright? Ricky Lee has published a new book titled Kung Alam N'yo Lang: Mga Kuwentong Pambata Para sa mga Hindi na Bata, which contains a collection of four short stories from the point of view of four kids. The 250-page collection has illustrations by Kenikenken, Diigii Daguna, Jether Amar, and Ivan Reverente. His other books like Trip to Quiapo, Para Kay B, and Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata are also on sale.
High Chair, a nonprofit small press, started publishing online journals in 2002. It has also released collections from award-winning poets like Allan Popa, Conchitina Cruz, Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles, and Mabi David among others. This year, High Chair pays homage to contemporary classics, which have influenced a generation of poets, by launching new editions of Sanayan Lang Ang Pagpatay by Albert Eduave Alejo S.J., Hagkis ng Talahib by Lamberto E. Antonio, and Pali-palitong Posporo by Benilda S. Santos. It has been decades since the three titles have been out of print.
Librong LIRA is the publishing arm of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo, a poetry organization established in 1985 by National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario. In 2015, it published Agua by Enrique S. Villasis and Sa Ilalim ng Pilik by Charles Bonoan Tuvilla, both finalists for Best Book of Poetry in Filipino for the 35th National Book Awards. This year, it comes out with seven chapbooks: Ang Dambuhala at ang Dinapurak by Christian Ray Pilares, Dayawen by Mikael Rabera Gallego, Mula sa Silong by Christa I. De La Cruz, Pananangan by Paul Alcoseba Castillo, Sa mga Guho, Bago ang Gunaw at iba pang Terra Incognita by Ralph Lorenz Fonte, Sa Wakas by James Luigi T. Tana, and Palaging Mayroong Dito Nagsisimula by Romel Samson.
Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
After more than 10 poetry books, including Ilahás (High Chair, 2004), Alinsunurang Awit (UST Publishing House, 2010), and Pilas ng Papel: Mga Sanaysay sa Tula (De La Salle University Publishing House, 2014) to name a few, Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles self-published a new collection titled Chi. The 38-page chapbook contains 12 poems with corresponding illustrations by Erika M. Carreon.
Philippine High School for the Arts
The country's premier art school for high school students will release literary zines and anthologies by its creative writing majors. The collection of works by these kids will make you question your life accomplishments, or lack thereof.
Kataga, an organization of writers that pushes art and literature with strong social commentary, releases four titles for BLTX IX. The lineup includes: Kataga Anthology, Hanggang Doon Na Rin Lang by Ma. Cecilia De La Rosa, Sansaglit by Lean Borlongan, and Faura, which is a compilation of works by the Kataga chapter in Manila.
Glenn Diaz, a recipient of the M Literary Residency in Bangalore, India in 2013, comes out with a self-published novella titled Kilometer Zero. The story follows Alvin Estrada, a call center agent, as he goes on a trip to Pagudpud with ex-boyfriend Scott.
Balangay Books, a publication that focuses on community-based writings, launches its first zine Dagli Diagrams. Written by Jayson V. Fajardo, the collection gives a new perspective on short story writing through a novel way in presenting sequences and scenes. Patungong Panumtom, a collection of works from the youth of Zambales, is also available in print.
Kampilan artists LJ Magbanua, Ryan Sandagon, Chucky Peñero, and Koi Carreon release a superhero comic series wherein creatures of Filipino folklores come to life.
Wina Puangco (a.k.a. Wina Wonders) launches two collections for BLTX: Seoul (short travel stories) and P A N I C (tiny fiction). One chronicles her trip in Korea's capital while the other explores impulse and uncertainty.
Better Living Through Xeroxography XI: A Small Press Expo is on December 9, 7 p.m. at Ilyong's Restaurant and Bar, 152 Kalantiaw Street, Project 4, Quezon City. For more information, visit Better Living Through Xeroxography on Facebook.