Keeping in time with the new materialist turn that aspires to respond to the common disregard to matter in Euro-Western tradition of thought while at the same time insisting the imperative to decolonize such turn, this essay attempts to articulate a Philippine rendition of new materialism, through the notion of bagay, nominated here as a thing whose materiality is intuited to be appropriately determinable concerning a particular moment. This attempt is extended through turning to Bagay poetry, “a concept, a proposition” (Lumbera 2005, 136) from the 1960s toward a Philippine poetics that is most attuned to the concreteness of things, instead of simply overlooking them—a disregarding impulse that is primarily attributed to the “platitudinous and emotional tendencies” (“Bagay Poets” 1965, 24) in Philippine poetry at the time which considers things as mere metaphors, if not symbols for anthropocentric sentimentalizations. Through harnessing then an attentiveness on things encouraged by the Bagay poetics, the materiality of bagay is then sensed in its utmost tropicality, that is, its capacity to turn into whatever.
Benitez, C.J.R. (2022). Bagay: Articulating a New Materialism from the Philippine Tropics. Rupkatha Journal, 14(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.21659/rupkatha.v14n1.07