HomeAKDA: The Asian Journal of Literature, Culture, Performancevol. 1 no. 1 (2016)

Myth and the Creative Imagination

J. Neil Garcia

Discipline: Philippine myths



This essay, delivered as a keynote at the second national conference on the sugidanon (epics) of Panay at the University of the Philippines Visayas (Iloilo campus) in December of 2015, inquires into the broadly creative affordances offered by mythological material to artists in general, and to writers in particular. It uses as examples the first few volumes of the Panay Bukidnon’s epic series, whose insights into non-dualistic thinking and transcendence echo the paradoxical procedures of poetic creativity on one hand, and urge translations into present-day national narrativities on the other, in light of the country’s increasingly cloven and agonized realities. Finally, as a way of fortifying its central argument, it discusses recent mythopoeic works by Filipino writers, that demonstrate in a variety of ways the generativity—and the usefulness—of this kind of creative project.