After I became adept at reading notes and figuring their connection to the ways my fingers moved, my father bought some sheet music: popular songs, including My Way and The Impossible Dream. He knew my piano teacher would not approve. She was a nun who'd left her well-to-do family for convent life; had gone to some war-torn country to serve by teaching children music. She was the one who told me how to pronounce the name of Bach: say it like you've just swallowed a fly. His partitas and fugues gave me the most trouble: when what you want is to make one clear line of music, mistakes are more apparent. I wanted to learn to play Chopin's Faintaisie Impromptu but my fingers were not that nimble. After dinner, it was the song about quixotic longing that my father never tired of hearing. Again, he instructed; again. I wonder what star it was that he was trying to follow; what hopeless quest defined the narrative in which he was the hero pressing forward on a tired work horse. I'll never really know what scars he took with him into his grave, which sorrows shaped his fortitude.
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.