Translator's notes

Pet

By Jim Pascual Agustin

Not a lot of poetry written in Filipino has been translated to English or any other language. This has to do with the predominance of English as the medium of instruction in most schools and universities (or at least when I was still living in the Philippines), and as the official language in most spheres held by the elite. Translation has been limited to a handful of works so far, but hopefully this will soon change. With the continued interest in world literature and the ease of finding venues for publication via the internet, translation opens a crucial door for Filipino poetry.

“Aso sa Tabi” was originally written in 1991 and appeared in my first book, Beneath an Angry Star (Anvil Publishing, Manila 1992). I moved to Cape Town, South Africa in 1994 and have had less direct literary links with the Philippines since.

This translation was written with very good feedback from members of an online forum at Goodreads.com. You can view the forum exchanges here. Various versions were presented to the members – none of whom could read Filipino. The poem had to undergo many changes, including the title which would have literally been “Dog on the Side” (sounds like something from a menu!).

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