Today, a library and lounge in a building next to a pond and fountain were dedicated to the late father of a writer friend. His father was a Physics professor in the university where I teach. When he started teaching, I must have been five years old; at that age, the most urgent thing was either the itchy sweater I was always made to wear, or how my kindergarten teacher wouldn't let me go to the bathroom until recess. But in the new library, we stood in the space where students will work on formulae or equations, next to six mahogany bookcases. They're filled with books like The Theory of Everything, The Quest to Explain All Reality, Theoretical Mechanics of Particles and Continua, or The Geometry of Spacetime. Old colleagues and students stepped up with stories—one said she wanted so badly to drop the course; then was glad the professor wouldn't let her. And I thought, this is what it can mean for a life to connect. Right under the ceiling, hundreds of wires all different colors ran through the corridors, each with a different purpose. Circuits were laid for heat, mechanics, light, electricity, magnetism. And there must have been someone in your life who once pointed out the chalk-white stars, explained the shape and motion of bodies; the energy of wind, the mysteries of water. ~ for Michael Khandelwal
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.