Friday, September 28, 2012


NINA ESTRADA PUYAT - (b 1921? d 1993) was born in Tarlac, Philippines; she was christened Saturnina Estrada although she preferred to be called Nina. When she married Eugenio Puyat, she became known as Nina Estrada Puyat.

She and her sister, Eva, were known as celebrated talented campus beauties. Their second cousin was the hero-martyr Benigno Aquino. Eva became a senator (Senator Eva Estrada Kalaw), while Nina became a well known poet. She was in fact known as the Elizabeth Barrett Browning of the Philippines.

Nina was also short story writer, for which she was a Shelley Memorial Awardee. She also wrote essays; she was a columnist, civic leader, society matron, and "a childless perennial Auntie to the young." (ref: Writeup Saturnina....)

Her collection of fifty sonnets, Heart of Clay, was published by Doubleday as This Love Within. Her political works include a three-act play, The Cripple, which was censored by the Marcos regime. The poem "Elegy" was written on the night of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, and is said to be the most significant piece of poetry to come out of the People Power era in the Philippines.

Nina was the 1979 Poet Laureate of the Philippine poet Association; she was the first recipient of the special diploma of Master in Literature from the University of Santo Tomas.

I (Cecilia Brainard) knew Nina when she retired and lived part time in the Los Angeles area. We were in several literary events, including this one held at the iconic Midnight Special Bookstore in Santa Monica.
Bottom photo: Nina Estrada Puyat (left, standing) with LA writers at a Reading at Midnight Special Bookstore.
Seated (l to r) are Karen Yamashita, Hisaye Yamamoto, Cecilia Brainard; Standing in the center is Jude Narita

External links:

Writeup Saturnina Estrada-Puyat after her death in 1994
Filipino Literature in the United States (Part 3 of a series)

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