"What we care about most, we call beyond measure." - Jane Hirshfield —meaning, where is the language to convey the weight and depth of what we carry in two hands; a breakable body; scars, landscapes of doubt clouding its mind? If not, then I have heard this condition described as the ineffable—which always makes me think of porous or volatile materials. The sea, for instance. Skin. Rain that, even as it falls and hits the humid ground, begins reassembling as steam and cloud. Confronted with sadness upon sadness, I used to think a world always on the brink of ending. I used to think I would fold if not become petrified, immobile. I didn't know how much I'd come to bear, even of the unasked-for. In the thrift store before closing, on Christmas Eve, a handful of people thumb through trays of vintage jewelry, crushed hats, shoes of worn leather, hunting for a clasp, a bit of rubbed velvet. Looking, listening for signals of another act, an encore. Not flourishes, though, or any of the intricate caprices; the single line of music delivers the sharpest pang. Cantabile, meaning songlike. Meaning what wakes the deepest silences before you even become aware.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the 2023 Immigrant Writing Series prize winner for Caulbearer: Poems (due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2024), and 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.
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