Emmanuel S. Torres, 29 April 1932 - 13 September 2021

September 14, 2021

The School of Humanities mourns the passing of Emmanuel S. Torres yesterday, September 13, 2021. He was 89.

Torres contributed much to the cultural life of the Ateneo de Manila and to the nation.
Torres was graduated from the Ateneo de Manila in 1954. As a student he contributed poems and essays to the Ateneo Quarterly. It was Torres who renamed the journal Heights when the campus moved from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights, and he was the co-editor of its first issue in October 1952. Heights is still the student literary journal of the university. Upon graduating, Torres received the Mulry Award in Literary Excellence. 
In 1957 he obtained a masters at the Iowa State University and attended the poetry workshops of Paul Engle. In 1958, he began teaching at the Ateneo de Manila, and in 1960 he became the first curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery, remaining so until 2001. He founded the Arts Club for students and used the Art Gallery as its base.
As a poet, Torres has three collections: Angels and Fugitives (1966), Shapes of Silence (1972), and The Smile on Smokey Mountain and Other Poems (1991). The first collection reflects his training at Iowa, the poems being carefully crafted and philosophical. The last two collections broaden the scope of his poetry to include the social issues of the time, and explore such themes as poverty and class guilt–a turn reflected in the direction that the Ateneo Art Gallery took in the same years.
He won four prizes at the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, including a first for “Angels and Fugitives” in 1966. He received the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas in 1992.
As an art critic, he authored Jeepney (1979), an analysis of the vehicle as an expression of Filipino life and aesthetics, and Kayamanan: 77 Paintings from the Central Bank Collection (1981), winner of the National Book Award in art history. He ran an art column in the Manila Times in the 1960 and in the Sunday Times Magazine in the 1990s. 
Photo Credit: Rizal Library