Augustinian Poet Releases New Poetry Book
Augustinian poet Gilbert Luis R. Centina III has released his latest poetry collection which consists of close to a hundred verses and over twenty splendid illustrations by Spanish artist Machús Aguirre. The collection is remarkable for its intense theological and religious subjects, further cementing the author's position as one of the leading voices in Catholic poetry.
The poet weaves a beautiful tapestry using love — which he describes as "the most uniquely human of all emotions" — as a metaphorical trope.
Madre España and Illustrated Love Poems,, published in New York by CentiRamo Publishing, was inspired by the author's advocacy to restore Spanish as an official language of the Philippines, his homeland which was a colony of Spain for over three hundred years, as well as his own deeply personal interaction with the Spanish people while residing and working in Spain. He wrote the poems during his ongoing recovery from a life-saving surgery at Bilbao's Cruces Hospital last year.
Rafael Lazcano, world’s foremost scholar on the Order of Saint Augustine and author of numerous books, including Lutero: Una vida delante de Dios and the multivolume Tesauro Agustiniano, praises the book in a blurb that appears on the back cover of the collection: "...Augustinian Gilbert Luis R. Centina III is a cultured and learned writer and, above all, a poet. In this new book of poems, he offers a channel of expression to aesthetic beauty in luminous verses, full of feelings and truths that permeate each one of us and suffuse the soul with hope and aspirations."
In Madre España, Father Gilbert writes: "This book would not have been possible without the unflinching support of friends and family, especially my Augustinian brothers in Loiu, Bilbao, and Neguri. Their fraternal love, their generosity, and their random acts of kindness have sustained me, and my deep appreciation of their friendship and tender gestures are memorialized in some of the poems in this collection. Because of their unconditional support, I am able to pursue my priesthood of literature, unfettered, " adding "a special debt of gratitude is owed to Machús Aguirre, an extraordinary artist whose illustrations make this poetry collection special."
In his preface to the book, he further explains his motivation for coming out with the book which he devoted to Spain and its people: "The first part of this book honors the Spanish people and the great Kingdom of Spain, the Mother Country of many nations throughout the world, including the Philippines, my Southeast Asian homeland. The second part is devoted unabashedly to love, the most uniquely human of all emotions. When directed toward God, it is expressed as a prayer of thanksgiving and as a way to celebrate when shared with a loved one.
He believes that the cultural identity known as Hispanidad, which historically links many nations to Spain as their Mother Country, should be used as a unifying force. "As the birthplace of Hispanidad, Spain has left an indelible mark on almost half a billion people estimated to speak the Spanish language across the globe. Besides a common language, there are more bonds that glue Spain and its former colonies together: blood, religion, history, culture and tradition, food, music, dance, and literature, to name just a few."