On a field trip that summer, we were a group of exchange scholars from 47 countries, many of us still blinking from jet lag. Yellow school buses spilled us out on the lawn in front of a marble memorial in the capital. In the drizzle, I didn't wonder about whose statues sat on pedestals and if, looking down on us, to them we might resemble a slow- moving cluster of insects from all over the world. I was more curious about the names of trees whose branches arced overhead as if inviting us to make a parade of our bodies under their wild yet formally jubilant light, but no one could tell me for sure. Later in the evening, after a picnic on the grass while John Williams conducted the orchestra onstage at Wolf Trap, the linguist from Guatemala showed us a barred owl he'd whittled with a penknife, on a twig he'd picked up in the grass.
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.