Gilbert luis r. centina iii
"While he used his pen to honor the Church’s fortitude, individual spirit and conviction, he masterfully channels his artistic talent into a powerful voice against conventual politics, hypocrisy and clericalism. His poetry is described by critics as a conscience that attacks and spares no one except the weak."
An Augustinian friar, Gilbert Luis R. Centina III (May 19, 1947 - May 1, 2020) was the author of nine poetry collections, a book of literary criticism and two novels. He died from complications due to Covid-19 in León, Spain shortly after completing his ninth poetry book, Recovecos/Crevices, a bilingual collection in Spanish and English.
He held five academic degrees, including a master's degree in comparative literature and a licentiate in sacred theology. His works have been widely anthologized in textbooks on Filipino literature in English and published in the United States, Spain and Canada. He received the Palanca Prize in poetry, considered as the Philippines highest literary honor, and the Catholic Authors Award from the Archdiocese of Manila. For his body of poetic work in Spanish, he was posthumously awarded the Premio José Rizal de las Letras Filipinas 2020, Europe's most important literary award for hispano filipino literature, by the Madrid-based Instituto Juan Andrés de Comparatística y Globalización.
While he used his pen to honor the Church’s fortitude, individual spirit and conviction, he masterfully channeled his artistic talent into a powerful voice against conventual politics, hypocrisy and clericalism.
His poetry is described by critics as a conscience that attacks and spares no one except the weak. It is full of intrinsic insights into humanity and its connection with a greater being. His work explores the relationship between man and his Creator, between space and time, and between the earthly and heavenly continuums of life, alongside our overwhelming shared sense of love, courage and hope.
Father Gilbert was born in the Philippines and spent many years in the United States, becoming a U.S. citizen. Between 2007 and 2010, he worked as the parish priest of an Augustinian-run church in East Harlem, New York. In 1976, he volunteered as a religious missionary in Peru. He traveled extensively across continents.
When he was assigned at Iglesia del Carmen in Neguri, Spain in 2013, his creative talents went into high gear, resulting in the publication of a novel, a book of literary criticism and six poetry collections over a period of four years.
He was last assigned to the Augustinian community at Colegio Nuestra Madre del Buen Consejo in Leon, Spain after undergoing a kidney transplant at Cruces Hospital in Bilbao in 2018.
Despite his health difficulties, punctuated by almost monthly admissions to the hospital due to infections, he still managed to complete three volumes of poetry written within a span of less than a year of each other.