A huge congratulations to Luisa on her appointment as Poet Laureate of Virginia! I love how she’s listed right between the governor’s picks for the Peanut Board and the Virginia Manufactured Housing Board. Peanuts, poetry, pre-fab housing… sounds about right.
Virginia actually has a very well-established and -respected state poet laureate program (unlike, say, Pennsylvania, which doesn’t have jack). Previous laureates include Rita Dove, Claudia Emerson, and Tim Seibles. Luisa takes over from Henry Hart and will serve for two years. I hope she’ll continue to find the time to post daily poems here. In November she’ll have been writing (at least) one poem a day for ten years!
An arguably even bigger deal than reaching that milestone this autumn will be the publication of her next full-length collection, Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, by Southern Illinois University Press. It was co-winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry. (How many prize-winning collections does that make?! Amazing.) And needless to say, many of the poems will have appeared in draft form at Via Negativa first.
If you’re a regular VN reader (thank you!) none of these honors will come as a shock. But like me, you’ll have a warm glow of satisfaction knowing that, like some hipster of poetry, you were into Luisa’s work before it was cool.