Michael M. Coroza is a multi-awarded poet, essayist, translator, editor, and educator. Though his parents were from Majayjay and Liliw, Laguna, he was born in Ermita, Manila on August 26, 1969. He spent his early childhood in San Pablo City, Laguna. His family transferred to Parang, Marikina in 1978. He married Jeanette M. Job, current principal of Maria Asuncion R. Tiñga High School, in 1994. They have three children: Miko Idyanale, Jeanne Haraya and Miguel Bulawan. They have been residents of Nangka, Marikina City since 2005.
He is an Associate Professor at the Department of Filipino, School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University, handling graduate and undergraduate courses in Filipino Literature (History and Criticism), Creative Writing (Poetry in Filipino), Literary Translation (Theory and Practice), and Language Studies.
Michael M. Coroza finished his elementary education at Parang Elementary School in 1982 and his secondary education at the Marikina Institute of Science and Technology in 1986.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts (AB) Major in Philosophy from the University of Santo Tomas in 1990, his Master of Arts (M.A.) in Filipino Literature from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2001, and his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Filipino from the University of the Philippines-Diliman in 2010.
Michael M. Coroza has garnered eight major awards from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for his poems, essays, and stories for children. He also won major awards from Talaang Ginto sa Tula – Gawad Collantes (1997) and Home Life Magazine National Poetry Contest (2000). His books Dili’t Dilim (1997) and Mga Lagot na Liwanag (2002) were both finalists in the National Book Award for Poetry. He was given a Gawad Francisco Balagtas by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on Filipino Language) for his contributions in the development and promotion of the Filipino Language, Literature and Culture (2005). He was the Filipino recipient of the Southeast Asia Writers Award (S.E.A.WRITE AWARD) in 2007. It is the most prestigious literary award in the ASEAN region, and is given annually to a writer from each of the ASEAN countries by the Royal Family of Thailand. He received the Ani ng Dangal Award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2009.
Coroza has widely performed the Balagtasan locally and in countries like Singapore and USA. He is the only relatively young poet who can face Teo T. Antonio, one of the revered contemporary poets in the Philippines and son of the third King of Balagtasan Emilio Mar. Antonio, in a Balagtasan match.
He represented the Philippines in the 10th Kuala Lumpur World Poetry Reading in Malaysia (2004). He has participated in international conferences and delivered lectures on Filipino Poetry in India (2008), Malaysia (2008), Thailand (2009), Singapore(2009), and California (2010).
Since February 2006, Coroza has been hosting “Harana ng Puso”, a weekly radio program aired over 104.3 FM that features traditional and classical Filipino songs and poems. The show features the Mabuhay Singers. Prior to this, from 2002 to 2005, he recited poems and sang vintage(danza and balitaw) and classic Filipino songs (kundiman) in the show “Serenatang Kumbidahan” of Tiya Dely Magpayo at DZRH of the Manila Broadcasting Company.
He regularly acts as panelist in various national literary workshops organized by the Ateneo Institute for Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP), UST Center for Creative Writing and Studies (USTCCWS), University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing (UP–ICW), Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA), Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA). From time to time, he acts as juror in prestigious literary competitions like the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Gawad Collantes sa Tula (Poetry) at Sanaysay (Essay) of Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, and USTETIKA Literary Awards.
In 1993 and 1994, he served as president of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA) where he had been admitted as member in 1988. He is now the Secretary General of the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL). He was an elected member of the National Executive Committee on Language and Translation of the NCAA for two consecutive terms (2004-2007 and 2007-2010). He is currently the Vice President of Samahan ng mga Tagasalin (SALIN), one of the elected board directors of Wika ng Kultura at Agaham (WIKA Inc.), and one of the founding board members of the Filipinas Institue of Translation (FIT).
Coroza is a diligent advocate of Philippine poetry. He encourages the youth to love poetry by attending and organizing poetry reading sessions in different schools. In 2008 and 2009, he headed the UMPIL-NBDB Lakbay AWtor para sa Kabataan (UNLAK), a joint project of UMPIL and the National Book Development Board to promote reading awareness among the public high school students by bringing to them up close and personal some of the contemporary Filipino authors.
1. “Putol” (Honorable Mention, Filipino Poetry, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award, 1991)
2. “Ako, Bana, Ama” (2nd Prize, Filipino Poetry, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, 1998)
3. “Mga Lagot na Liwanag” (1st Prize, Filipino Poetry, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards 2001; finalist, National Book Awards for Poetry of the Manila Critics Circle, 2003; recepient, Publication Award, Loyola Schools, Ateneo de Manila University, 2003)
4. “Si Nanay, Si Lolo Ceferino, Ang Lira, at si Eliot o ang Henesis ng Aking Pananaludtod” (3rd Prize, Filipino Essay Category, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award, 2002)
5. “Imbisibol Man ang Tatay” (3rd Prize, Filipino Short Story for Children, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award, 2007)
6. "Ang Mabuhay Singers at Ako sa Pag-awit at Pag-ibig" (2nd Prize, Filipino Essay Category, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, 2008)
7. "Ang mga Kahon ni Kalon" (2nd Prize, Short Story for Children, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, 2009)
8. "Munting Daigdig ng Dalit at Awit" (3rd Prize, Filipino Poetry for Children, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, 2009).
This poem received an honorable mention award in the 1991 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.
The poem is about a severed right foot wearing a Nike shoe found by a garbage man. When the man picked the foot, blood flowed. The man felt sad for the other pair of show was missing.
Putol is one of the treasures of Philippine poetry. First of all, the author uses imagery effectively. One can easily visualize the garbage man finding a broken foot and the blood flowing from the severed foot. Secondly, the symbolism is unique and striking. Using the severed foot to represent a wasted life makes the readers realize the importance of life. In addition, the garbage man’s reaction after finding the Nike shoe symbolizes companionship. Because the other pair of shoe is missing, the Nike shoe will still be useless. Lastly, the author uses real life situation to convey universal truths. Though the situation presented in this poem is quite weird, it can still happen in real life. Through the use of the severed foot as a symbol, the author conveys the importance of life and the value of solidarity.
-By Paul Allado
Imbisibol Man ang Tatay
“Imbisibol Man ang Tatay” won 3rd Prize in the Filipino Short Story for Children of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award in 2007.
A story of a child who longs for his father and eventually finds out that he is an illegitimate child.
The short story starts with a boy fantasizing about things that can be done if he had invisible powers. He could not be found in the game of hide and seek, save people from robbers, and escape his teacher’s question.
His teacher asks, “Where is your family picture, your father isn’t in this one.” Miguelito replies, “He is invisible.” His classmates laughed at him.
Miguelito’s father seldom comes home. Miguelito is always with his mother and grandmother. If he asks where his father is, their reply is that he is away working.
He didn’t want to be embarrassed again in class so he waited for the heart of the banana to give him invisible powers. The next day, he was very hot and he didn’t go to class for one week. One night, a miracle happened. His father came home and took care of him. His father said sorry for not being with him and that cured Miguelito.
Ten days before Miguelito’s birthday, his father sent money. His father said to Miguelito to spend it on what he likes. The day before Miguelito’s birthday, he and his mother went to the mall. He saw his father and called him. His father was with a girl with the same age as his an another woman with the same age of his mother. His father didn’t notice him and walked past him.
On Miguelito’s birthday, he didn’t expect that his father would come. He and his mother went to church. His mother had to tell him something. She told him that she was pregnant not knowing that his father was already married to another woman. She said that his father would still provide things that he needed. After hearing what his mother said, Miguelito realized how his mother loved him. To be pregnant without a husband and bear him all the way, he had a very loving and caring mother.
When he was blowing the candles of his cake, his mother whispered that he should wish something. Miguelito’s wish was to be as loving as his mother and if he becomes a father, he won’t be invisible.
The author used the concept of invisibility. Being invisible can have benefits and detriments. It would be nice to be a super hero and use invisibility powers for good. Anyone could save people’s lives. Anyone could also escape situations that they don’t want to be in. In addition, by being invisible, people would be sad because they wont be able to see the ones they love. But there is a difference between being invisible and not being there. Being invisible means the person is present but could not be seen. Not being there means the person is not part of what is happening. If people were granted of invisibility powers, then no one would see each other. From this short story, it could be said that invisibility is not an option. Challenges must be faced.
-By Vince Oracion