Ménage à Trois of Tongues (A Trilingual Homecoming)


  • Merlinda Bobis Australian National University




poetry, auto translation, Filipino, Bikol


The following brief essay and three versions of a poem are excerpts from Pag- uli, Pag-uwi, Homecoming. Poetry in Three Tongues. Merlinda Bobis, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Manila 2004. A few years ago, she returned to writing poetry after four novels.


Author Biography

Merlinda Bobis, Australian National University

Merlinda Bobis is an award-winning Filipina-Australian writer who has published in three languages: English, Filipino, and her mother tongue Bikol. She has had 4 novels, 6 poetry books, 2 collections of short stories published, and 10 dramatic works performed for stage and radio. Her awards include the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, 3 Philippine National Book Awards, the Steele Rudd Award (Best Collection of Australian Short Stories), and the Australian Writers’ Guild Award (Radio Play). While most of her works are in English, they incorporate words and concepts (sometimes untranslateable to English) in her original languages. To evoke the landscape of her first home, she echoes the cadence, tone and orality of these languages. These features are evident in her new book of short stories The Kindness of Birds (Spinifex Australia, Anvil Philippines 2021). She has also returned to writing poetry. Her latest poetry book Accidents of Composition was Highly Commended for the 2018 ACT Book of the Year Award.