"...We are resting now with about twenty-five bronze figures squatted around us. These Igorot are quite repulsive at times. You should see them eat— they fill their mouths as full as they can stuff them. One of the men who have been carrying me is a sight to behold....He would create a sensation anywhere in the United States." ~ Maud Huntley Jenks, Death Stalks the Philippine Wilds: Letters of Maud (Huntley) Jenks She sits with a pamphlet in her hand and calls it reading. We are to follow her lead and take turns making these sounds. Today I am first. Yesterday I cleaned her floor with a rag and a basin of water. Sunday she made a face and told my brother to take me to the river where he was to scrub me with a bar of soap. She checks our hair and ears and clucks at the sight of our bare feet. We know the sounds in the forests around our homes: tree frogs and owls, anitos watching over us. The mumbaki taught us we may gather firewood in the muyong, but not hunt wild animals there. When we cut down a tree, first we are to say its name. She has our names confused, and so she and her people give us new names in their tongue. My friends and I, we don't correct her. It is better that we keep our true names to ourselves— should we fall like trees, still we'll keep the first things we were given at birth.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She 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 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.