(Turritopsis dohrnii) When the world started to sense that dinosaurs were on the decline, did the young millennial or Gen-Z creatures begin to look at them as if they weren't even there anymore, or have any possibility of a sex life; did they hoot or make jokes when one of the soon-to-be-extinct dropped lingo that seemed impossibly hip for someone in their age group; did they recommend early retirement or last priority in a vaccine queue because, you know, the inevitable was coming anyway? These kinds of dismissal are so irritating. It's as if the world forgot that evolution isn't only a process of elimination: it's also one of diversification. There are even organisms that rarely die simply because they get old. Take the immortal jellyfish, for instance: faced with danger or threat, its clear, pulsing tent dandelion-ringed with 90 stingers might hitch a ride on the bottom of a cargo ship; or better yet, press the reset button to change itself back into a polyp.
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.