Ricaredo Demetillo

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Ricaredo Demetillo (born 2 June 1919) is a Filipino poet, essayist and playwright. Using English and English metrics, he pioneered a linkage with the oral tradition which resulted in the award-winning Barter in Panay: An Epic, an epic about the life of Datu Sumakwel, the first datu and law-giver of Panay. The said epic is considered to be the first true literary epic of the Philippines.

Demetillo is married to Angelita Delariarte. Their daughter Becky Demetillo-Abraham is a singer while their son Lester is a guitarist.


Early life and education

Ricaredo was born on 2 June 1919 to Querobin Demetillo and Rebecca Delariarte. He studied at the Dumangas Elementary School, Iloilo High School, Central Philippine Colleges, and Silliman University.

He was a seminarian at the Protestant Central Philippine Colleges when the World War II broke out. There, he discovered his talent and passion for writing. He soon studied at the Iowa Creative Writing Center and the Indiana University. In 1952, he received his master of fine arts degree in English and creative writing from the State University in Iowa.


In 1952, he taught at Silliman and served as adviser of Sands and Coral. He started teaching literature and the humanities at the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1955.

His works first appeared in the Graphic in 1939. His poems, essays, and short stories have also come out in Sands and Coral, Literary Apprentice, Diliman Review, Comment Magazine, Poetry Magazine (USA), Iowas Workshop Brochure, and Botteghe Oscure (Rome). His works were also included in Katha I, 1953; Philippine Writing, 1953; and Philippine Poetry Annual: 1947-1949, 1950.

He published several collections of poetry. Among them were, No Certain Weather, 1956; La Via: A Spiritual Journey, 1958; Barter in Panay: An Epic and Daedalus and Other Poems, 1961; The Scarecrow Christ, 1970; The City and the Thread of Light, 1973; Lazarus, Troubadour, 1974; Masks and Signature, 1984; and First and Last Fruits, 1989.

His other works inlcude a play, The Heart of Emptiness is Black, 1975; a novel, The Genesis of a Troubled Vision, 1976; and literary criticism, The Authentic Voice of Poetry, 1962, and Major and Minor Keys: Critical Essays on Philippine Fiction and Poetry, 1987.

Other publications

  • Harper's Introductory Geography: With Maps and Illustrations Prepared Expressly for This Work By (Classic Reprint), 2012
  • Six Filipino Poets, with Leonard Casper and Edith L. Tiempo, 1955
  • My Sumakwelan works in the context of Philippine culture, 1976
  • A Study of the Ideological, Religious and Moral Content of the Lyric Poetry of Ricardo Demetillo, Etc, with Manuel Prado Estevez, 1970
  • Sun, Silhouettes, and Shadows: Photo Essay of Rural People and Places, with B. David Williams, 1975
  • The Golden Jubilee Ode, for Narrator, Soloist, Speech Choir, Chorus and Orchestra, with Eliseo M. Pájaro, 1959

See Ricaredo Demetillo's available e-book at Vibe Bookstore.

Awards and recognition




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