My college philosophy professor, just returned from years of study at a famous university in Belgium, was heady with concepts on Being and Time— He'd say, does a donkey concern itself with being a donkey or a bird concern itself with being a bird? No, but humans must by nature perennially concern themselves with being certain types of persons. I suppose some part of this is true: some days I believe I can do things; there are infinite possibilities! and other days when all I want to do is eat carbs and cry. According to Heidegger, who I learned was banned from teaching for a number of years because he was sympathetic with the Nazis, humans are the only ones who ponder and define for themselves what it means to be a being in the world among others. The world should be like a house where we can live and make for ourselves a place of comfort and familiarity. Or a snail shell into which a small, sinuous body can be left undisturbed to coil into the library of its own solitude. But the horse is out there trampling the field or dragging a man other men have strung to the reins like a plow; and the boy who whistled like a bird in front of a country store has his eye gouged out and his head and face beaten until it is almost the same liquid blue as the river. Every night now, in streets thick with smoke and tear gas, some beings swing clubs and fire bullets while other beings fall or stand their ground.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. She 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 (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate 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; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. 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, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.