Virginia R. Moreno
(b. 1925)

Tough and tender poets have installed Virginia R. Moreno as Philippine poetry’s high priestess. Batik Maker and Other Poems is her sole and much-coveted book of poems. Of the 13 handcrafted copies made for its 1975 CCP-launching, 5 vanished altogether, spirited away by those possessed by its lush dreamwork and haunting strains.

Bookmaker Hilario S. Francia meticulously crafted and stitched each copy of the book. Moreno herself chose the batik-cloth cover, in the famous broken-sword motif of Javanese royalty, and flew it in from Jakarta. Her brother, Jose Moreno, supplied the Kyoto ricepaper for its pages, bought from one of his Osaka sojourns. Lucrecia Kasilag deployed her gamelan orchestra for the occasion. Vic Silayan and Lolita Rodriguez, along with Moreno’s diplomat friends, recited the poems in three languages—in the lyrical English master text, in the elegant French translation, and in Larry Francia’s masterful Filipino.

In 2004, Virginia Moreno allowed the Ateneo library to craft the copy on display, a meticulous reproduction of the original—on the occasion of ALIWW’s anniversary tribute for Moreno’s lifetime work in poetry, theater, and the art of cinema.


©Ateneo Library of Women's Writings
3/F-Rizal Library Annex
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights,1103 Q.C., Philippines

The Paz Marquez-Benitez
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