More from Empire: School Triolet


We stretched out both arms and knelt on dried beans—
exquisite punishment meted out in our schools
when we weren’t reciting in unison or cleaning latrines.
In first grade we knelt on dried mung beans
for not learning the right greeting routines,
for having dirty fingernails, or breaking some other rule.
A book balanced in each hand, we knelt on dried beans—
who invented these punishments meted out in our schools?


In response to Via Negativa: Tribute.

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Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What Is Left of Wings, I Ask (forthcoming, 2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

1 Comment

  1. The repetitive nature of the triolet really works here. Gruesome stuff. Ah, the torture and power-plays adults love to inflict on children under the guise of education!


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