Saturday, March 04, 2006



Trill And Mordent by Luisa A. Igloria
(WordTech Communications, 2005)

For lovers of poetry and literature, Luisa Igloria, who also wrote under the name Luisa Aguilar-Carino, is one of the few Filipino poets who have made it to the Carlos Palanca Hall of Fame. A poet and writer recognized in the Philippines, she's also crafted poems acclaimed in international circles.

Trill and Mordent is an enchanting collection that captures the imagination and touches the soul of the reader. Here we see the poet revealed in words, in portraits and images that inspire us to think beautiful thoughts. The poetry is reflective of the spirit of the times. It is poetry that feeds the soul with its lines that are almost mythical as well as lyrical.

Carried along by the voice of the poet, we wander through the territory of the poet’s words and come awake to a call that arouses memories of a land left behind.

Trill and Mordent contains thirty-nine poems, most of which were written in the post 9/11 climate. The collection celebrates beauty and hope. Moving from the somber closing lines in “Regarding History”, each poem that follows serves to remind us of the fragility of life and the interconnectedness of things.

It makes us

aware of how the slightest motion could set the whole transparent shelf to ringing.
--from "If the Poem were Glass"

This sense of interconnectedness and loss haunts the reader throughout the collection. These poems have the power to wake images that linger in the mind, as is revealed in the title poem, "Trill and Mordent":

without error, the composer made these precise marks on sheets of music. They bristle like little reports, like explosions

From the snout of a rifle angled through the window of a van,
Aimed at any head smooth as the next one

Further on:

Now the news everyday is filled with how little
It takes to ignite the blunt wick of fear.

In the space of a few words, Igloria is able to capture the atmosphere of terror and fear left behind by the events of 9/11. Nevertheless, the poet does not linger in that moment of terror.

She moves on to evoke images that transport the reader from the reign of fear to where beauty and the joy of life overcome what terror seeks to repress.

“I’m sure that by the end of the night they sit like me in
the shadow of a balcony or by a window, stung by the radiant rising
of the moon, by the ccuu-ccuu-rruu-ccuu-ccuu echoing through the gardens,”
--from "Stairway to Heaven"

To me, “Stairway to Heaven”, the final poem in this collection provides a fitting end to a collection that celebrates the triumph of life and beauty over terror and destruction.


Rochita Loenen-Ruiz is a Filipina writer living in the Netherlands where she writes speculative fiction and poetry. She writes a regular interview column for The Sword Review and the Authors and Books column for Munting Nayon, the Filipino-Dutch newspaper. Visit her at


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