This is the year in which we come to know about edible spoons and forks made not from plastic but millet or wheat or rice in India; that you could take a slow container ship to travel 28 days from Europe to Pasir Gudang, Hakata, Incheon, and Manila. Keep brown grocery bags, turn the cardboard seams of cereal boxes inside out; iron last year's glossy printed gift papers so you're never out of mailing supplies. In 1898, Commodore Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay. A young man from New Jersey, one of 13,000 American soldiers deployed in Cavite, wrote home in a letter: It's strange that we're here because, as far as we're concerned, the battle against the Spanish has been won at sea. This winter, we'll have to learn all over again how not to be the envelopes that new mutations of a virus could slip into. Wars never end, do they? Lethal doesn't only mean the number of dead or dying. Look at the boys on the playground, pocketing the shiny marbles they won by knocking out the others from the circle.
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.