Emerging BIWOC Poet Spotlight

This monthly series features poems by women of color in the early stages of their publishing careers. It is our intention to create more space at Perugia for the work of poets who are Black, Indigenous, and women of color (BIWOC). We hope using our 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; featured poems will be from poets with no more than one published full-length collection. We’d love to hear from readers with suggestions for poems & poets to feature.

March 2021 Poet: Bettina Judd


February 17, 2006

The nurse with the natural compliments me on my locs. We begin in that nappy-hair banter, when did you start yours? All of this happening between my thighs. Between speculum and cotton swab, I just had to stop running to the salon. Between the manual test in the vagina, You’re going to feel a pinch, and the manual test in the anus, It’s so much easier to manage this way. Nothing said of my outburst. Nothing about the angry patient on this floor, Yours look so healthy, nothing about why she tends to me after that. Almost done. Just two black women and a speculum, each asking the other, When did you get free?


patient. Black Lawrence Press, 2014

This video “Run on Sentence” from patient. features two poems and an original animation.

Poet Bio

Bettina Judd is an interdisciplinary writer, artist, and performer whose research focus is on Black women’s creative production and our use of visual art, literature, and music to develop feminist thought through affective registers. She is currently Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. Her poems and essays have appeared in Feminist Studies, Torch, The Offing, Meridians and other journals and anthologies. Her collection of poems titled patient. (2014), which tackles the history of medical experimentation on and display of Black women, won the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Book Prize in 2013.

To learn more about Bettina Judd, visit her website.