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.
November 2020 Poet: Donika Kelly
Love Poem: Chimera
I thought myself lion and serpent. Thought myself body enough for two, for we. Found comfort in never being lonely. What burst from my back, from my bones, what lived along the ridge from crown to crown, from mane to forked tongue beneath the skin. What clamor we made in the birthing. What hiss and rumble at the splitting, at the horns and beard, at the glottal bleat. What bridges our back. What strong neck, what bright eye. What menagerie are we. What we’ve made of ourselves.
Bestiary, Graywolf Press, 2016
Donika Kelly the author of the chapbook Aviarium (fivehundred places) and the full-length collection Bestiary (Graywolf). Bestiary is the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, and the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. A Cave Canem graduate fellow and member of the collective Poets at the End of the World, Donika has also received a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a summer workshop fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center. She currently lives in Iowa City and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing.