"Industry comforts us, hard work with no respite, provided only that the elements do not rage while we are at work." ~ M.C. Escher, "Beehive," from XXIV Emblemata, 1931 Hardwood from our forests, then knuckle- bruised years of hewing and planing. We knew how to lash thousands of trees into a vessel that would sail half the year to carry silver and gold, porcelain, teak and tea, silks and cinnabar to worlds most of us would not see. Those of us who did sail endured hunger and sickness, maggots in our food, poisonous water. We swung our bloated bellies in hammocks, the hold made more humid by our pummeling despair. Tragedy and mutinies; slow death. Bleeding gums, teeth fallen out of our mouths. In Morro Bay, touching land again for the first time: shadow of its rock on water a portal through which we passed.
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.