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.

April 2021 Poet: Paula Mendoza


Make it snakes. Whom were always deceiver and forfeit.
As I am always derivative. A sap. The sticky. Stain
of his leak. What's crusted the slip. What makes it so
hard/beat fast/feel sad. If a matter of origin, I'll throw up
a cosmos. Twinkle-lights pock my smile with zodiac.
Make it the first time I let him, his O-face smeared
into an Edvard taffy theatre mask. His joy was terrible.
Its in-and-in-and-in, whorls of wet, agitated sand
that could not bear my weight. Make it a heavy sound.
Make it roach scuttle in cathedrals. Make it rainstick's
thirsty lie, faux firelight, and the gas turned up. Make it
black-out sex forgetting she had a name. I get ahead
running towards a dangling carrot's veiny slow dissolve.
I move my lips but only his sounds come out. I motor
hind hooves and the cyclone dust kicked up vanishes me.
About my head, a red halo dilates. She is not my own
god, I am my own. My god, make it snakes. Make one so
onyx a glossing, so diamond a tip, my every shiver's incision.


Play for Time, Gaudy Boy, 2020

Poet Bio

Paula Mendoza’s work has appeared in Bennington Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Yalobusha Review, and elsewhere. She earned her BA at the University of Texas in Austin, her MFA at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Utah. Her first book, Play for Time, was selected by Vijay Seshadri for the Gaudy Boy Poetry Prize, and published in spring 2020.

To learn more about Paula Mendoza, visit her website.