Dark Hours is a collection of prose poems by Conchitina Cruz released in 2005 by the University of the Philippines Press. It is a collection of previously published and revised or new works by the author exploring the experience of the city by various characters. It won the National Book Awards in 2006.
According to Andy Brown, director of the Center for Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, Dark Hours is a strong collection of prose poems, firmly in the European lyric tradition. Mostly short-length (less than a page) passages of heightened lyric prose, that often begin with a focused image and develop that image through repetition, variation, furtherance and other rhetorical and poetic devices. The features identified in the prose poems - the use of disjointed scenes, double narratives, materiality of sounds, metanarratives, the pronoun ‘you,' intertextuality, and footnotes - lend the prose poems openendedness, self-reflexive tendencies and writerly roles for the reader.
Conchitina Cruz is an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman College of arts and Letters where she teaches subjects in creative writing and literature. She finished her MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she also taught. Aside from Dark Hours, she also has a poetry chapbook called Disappear released by High Chair in 2004. She has two Palanca Awards for Poetry, one in 1996 and another in 2001.
Sample Work from Dark Hours
A passage from Cruz' poem entitled "Disappear."
What is a shadow? It is the self without a face or a name, all outline and no feature, the self on the verge of being erased. It is the incidental child of matter and light. Look how it spreads itself on the ground, weary but weightless, unable to leave a trace.
Another one of those days when we’re standing by the side of a road with our mothers, sweating in our Sunday dresses, waiting for the bus home. You stand in the puddle of your mother’s shadow, twisting your body so your own vanishes inside the darkness. I’m invisible, you shout, counting the three shadows left, then blowing me a stiff kiss. It’s cooler here too.
Is it possible for this not to be a story of disappearance?
- Andy Brown reviews Conchitina Cruz (Accessed June 5, 2009)
- Formalizing Desire in Conchinita's Dark Hours (Accessed June 5, 2009)
- UP Press Website (Accessed May 9, 2008)
- www.Filipinowriter.com (Accessed May 9, 2008)