Excitement and eroticism never end for Peter Solis Nery’s “100 Erotic Sonnets from the Hiligaynon” in 2010.
First, it finally saw print in the U.S.A. via CreateSpace, a member of the Amazon group of companies, and started to enjoy distribution through Amazon.com, among other channels on August 8, 2010. Two weeks later, it was made available in Kindle Edition, the digital text platform of Amazon.com, making it Nery’s first digital book.
Second, as the subject of Nery’s one-act play, “The Wide Ionian Sea,” the “100 Erotic Sonnets from the Hiligaynon” just landed Nery his sixth Palanca win.
Originally written in Hiligaynon in 2005 as a personal conceit and self-imposed challenge to write 100 sonnets in 100 days, Nery’s “100 Erotic Sonnets in the Hiligaynon” became a Philippine literary sensation when it was launched with a poetry concert during the 2006 National Arts Month, and was scandalously published in an Ilonggo newspaper as a series of “one erotic sonnet a day” starting February 2006. In 2008, Nery translated the Hiligaynon originals into English, revised, and rearranged the sonnet sequence into its present form, “100 Erotic Sonnets from the Hiligaynon.”
Also in 2008, Nery wrote “The Wide Ionian Sea,” a play of homoerotic seduction between thirty-something Ilonggo writer stage named Mentor, and confused college student disguised in the name Telemakhos. They metin an internet café, the writer brings the student home, and educates him on literature and art.
In the play, the writer Mentor, inspired by the youth beside him, embarks on a bold project of writing the scandalous 100 erotic sonnets in the Hiligaynon. On the other hand, Telemakhos, who had hoped that some poetic inspiration would rub off on him while he lives with the writer, feels that he is “shrinking” as Mentor makes advances on his monumental project. Feeling more lost than ever, the student betrays the writer. Six months later, Mentor becomes a literary success. Telemakhos visits Mentor who begs him to stay. The student explains why he cannot, and why he left in the first place. He also confronts the writer’s reductionist philosophies, and confesses his sins.
A major conceit in the play is the generous sprinkling of the erotic sonnets, and the addition of several erotic scenes for the stage.
“The Wide Ionian Sea” won 3rd Prize in the category One-Act Play in English at the 2010 Palanca Awards. Nery denies that the play is autobiographical.
Following popular suggestion, Nery is also set to film celebrity readings, interpretations, and film adaptations of his “100 Erotic Sonnets” before the year ends.
© Randy Graydon: August 2010