Emerging BIWOC Poet Spotlight
This monthly series features poems by women of color in the early stages of their careers. It is our intention to create more space at Perugia for the work of BIWOC, and we hope using our modest platform to celebrate this work will expand the readership of the poets we spotlight. This series aligns with Perugia’s mission to support and promote emerging women poets; all the featured poems will be from BIWOC poets with no more than one published full-length collection. We’d love to hear from readers with suggestions for poems & poets to feature.
October 2020 Poet: Diana Khoi Nguyen
Gradually a girl’s innocence itself becomes her major crime A doe and her two fawns bent low in the sumac along the bank of a highway, the pinched peach of their ears twitching in the heat Into the disordered evening my brother cut out only his face from every photograph in the hall, carefully slipping each frame back into position What good does it do? Decades of no faces other than our own chipping faces What good does it do, this resemblance to nothing we know of the dollhouse New parents watch their newborn resting in a sunny patch of an empty room, the newborn making sense of its container— And from the road a deer ripened in death and a tuft of fur—or dandelion— tumbled along, gently circled, driftwood, shaking loose, gathered, dissolving into the mouths of jewelweed nearby Earth is rife with iron and blood is rich in stardust Immediately I spotted one hoof print, then nothing, as if this was where she dragged herself out of the body Strips of tire torn from their orbit Is it right then, that we are left to hurtle alone
Ghost Of, Omnidawn Publishing, 2018
Poet and multimedia artist Diana Khoi Nguyen was born and raised in California. She earned a BA in English and Communication Studies from UCLA, an MFA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the University of Denver. She is the author of the chaplet Unless (Belladonna*, 2019), and her debut poetry collection, Ghost Of, was selected by Terrance Hayes for Omnidawn’s Open Contest. In addition to winning the 92Y “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Contest, the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the Colorado Book Award, she was also a finalist for the National Book Award and L.A. Times Book Prize. Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in magazines and journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, and PEN America. She has held scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. A Kundiman fellow, Nguyen teaches in the Randolph College Low-Residency MFA and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.