You Can Choose Your Afterlife

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Authors Biography

Mario Eric Gamalinda Born on Oct. 14, 1956,Manila
School: UST and UP 
Occupation: Poet, fictionist, essayist
Currently lives in: New York City, USA 
Currently works at: Center for Investigative Journalism

Eric Gamalinda is a local fellow for poetry of the UP ICW in 1983. He went to Great Britain to represent the Philippines in the Cambridge International Writers’ Conference in 1990. In 1991, he attended the Hawthornden International Writers’ Retreat in Scotland. Gamalinda got a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Bellagio, Italy. He also participated in the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Programme for the 21st century.

Other Works & Achievements
• Fire Poem/Rain Poem (1976) 
• Lyrics From A Dead Language (1991) 
• Zero Gravity (1999) –Asian American Literary Award
• Peripheral Vision (1992)
• Planet Waves (1989) –National Book Award
• Confessions of a Volcano (1990)
• The Empire of Memory (1992)
• My Sad Republic (1998) –Centennial Literary Prize
• Anatomy of a Passionate Derangement (One-act play, 1980) -1st prize, Gawad Palanca Award • Ara Vos Prec (1985) –Gawad Palanca Award
• Patria Y Muerte (1988) –Gawad Palanca Award
• Mourning and Weeping in this Valley of Tears (1988) –Gawad Palanca Award • The Unbreakable Lightness of EDSA (1990) –Gawad Palanca Award • Muerte del Anghel (1992) –Free Press Literary Awards 

Selection
"You Can Choose Your Afterlife," is found in Gamalinda’s book, Zero Gravity. The poem is based on the beliefs of the T’boli, an old indigenous people living in South Cotabato in Southern Mindanao.  The T’boli afterlife has several destinations. The souls of murder victims and warriors slain in battle will be celebrated in a bloodthirsty kingdom. To die by the sword entails the people you left behind to mourn for your tragic death. According to the T’boli beliefs, victims of drowning become citizens of the sea. They will be...
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