Imperfect Triolet, While Listening to the News

Books stacked in the corners, books by the bed—
What we lack in courage, we make up for in our heads.
On the radio, news of a mall shooting; or of refugees that fled—
Impossible to find enough solace from books stacked by the bed.
A boy watched his mother and sister killed: they had no hijab on their heads.
In the window box, wasps attack the flowers as if to behead.
Books stacked in the corners, books by the bed—
What our hearts lacked in courage, made up for in our heads.

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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. I love this triolet and how you slightly vary the lines. It’s so hard to write an interesting triolet.


    1. I agree. Poems with repeating lines usually annoy me, but Luisa somehow manages to keep them interesting.


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