Hai[NA]Ku and Other Poems by AA Patawaran: Book Review


Synopsis: An exciting collection of poetry inspired by life’s most engrossing themes such as love and pain, solitude and reflection, arrivals and departures, and the tenuous threads that make up everyday life, from AA Patawaran, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle editor and bestselling author of Write Here Write Now.

Date Published: February 2016

Publisher: Anvil Publishing

No of Pages: 186 pages.

Source: Bought from National Book Store


Evocative and Enthralling.

I will never claim myself to be an adept poetry reader, there are still so much poems and poets in the world I have yet to explore. When I heard that a new poetry book was released by a Filipino author, I knew I had to get it. It is such a shame that I have not read a full length poetry book written by a Filipino, I know, what is wrong with me? My good friend gave me a poetry book last year, but up until now I never had the chance to read it. Now I am remedying my palpable lack of knowledge about Filipino poetry, and I started it with this book.

So here it goes, apologies first if this review may not give the book full justice, but I will try. Hai[NA]Ku and Other poems is not just about love, but life’s all encompassing events, the highs and lows and everything in between. This book celebrates a life well-lived, a place well-traveled and a story perfectly narrated by a well-versed man. AA Patawaran’s writing style has this melancholic tone to it, yet you cannot miss the strong message he was trying to send across.

Here’s sharing with you the results of such exploits in the hope that you will find in them a few ideas, a little inspiration, a little entertainment, some empowerment, and maybe, if I understood the point of poetry correctly, a reflection of your soul. 

And this poetry book did just that, an inspiration, entertainment, empowerment and without a doubt a reflection of the soul. I never knew I could relate to it this much. I loved how Philippine history also was a part of this magnificent work. Also the current situation of our society specifically mentioned in the poems DATINGMNL and The Great Instagram Purge . I loved how the poems are relevant and timely, how it suits the ever changing facets of modern lives.

It will give you that sense of nostalgia, that bitter-sweet feeling that will fill you with too much longing and too much want. I loved how a poem was not just what meets the eye, it was so much more. The author’s ability to intertwine love’s hardships and that of society’s ever present predicament was just impeccable.

But why must it be so hard to love you

You are home yet I hardly feel at home

Everything’s an assault to the senses

Where nothing is sure and nothing is free

(But the law’s unreliability)

– D|sloyalty

I’ve read the book out loud, if that counts for anything. I wanted to hear it as well, through my very voice, and it adds to the beauty of it all. There was this sense of being at the moment, seeing everything unfold through your own imagination.

My ultimate favorites were It’s Not What I Thought, Walker’s Paradise, D|sloyalty and Don’t Wince At The Smell of Rotten Fish.

I used to think that love was simple; that it was all a matter of finding it, until I found it  – and it’s harder because , unless I constantly work on it, I feel as hollow as I feel full, I feel unsure as I feel certain, I feel as lost as I feel found.


I used to think that sadness was a form of self-indulgence, until I got depressed – and it’s harder now when I feel sad because, long swept under the rug, cast in the shadows, dismissed and denied, the emotion feels so strange, so foreign, so unexplored.

I used to think that happiness was the result of good things happening, until I found happiness on the bleakest day, like a ray of light in the darkest night – and it’s harder, much harder now to know that, no matter what happens, no matter how great my sorrows, no matter how terrible my tragedies, happiness will always be a choice.

– It’s Not What I Thought

It is such a nice feeling to support local authors, I should have done this a long time ago. And now I  am making it my life’s mission to promote and support more of Filipino Literature because truly Filipinos have world class talent. I truly recommend this poetry book to everyone who wants to be inspired and empowered, those who thought they could not make any difference, because you could, we all could. Cheers to all Filipino authors!

RATING: rating_5stars


5 thoughts on “Hai[NA]Ku and Other Poems by AA Patawaran: Book Review

  1. Pingback: AA Patawaran Launches New Book “Manila Was a Long Time Ago” – KOJI ARSUA

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