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.

June 2021 Poet: Krysten Hill

Photo by Jon Beckley

This Mouth

Never your bird, never finch,
never graceful feathered thing.
Maybe litany molting
what it can’t heal. Maybe pinwheel
started with breath, whispering 
I love you or today, I will try. Maybe knife
to core the apple of my eye, a blade that wants you
blind. Maybe red kitchen where the kettle is hoarse
from heat underneath, where I boil my tongue
to be rid of its stutter, maybe humming 
while it sweeps the bodies of dead
wasps from its windowsill, but never your bird
sitting pretty and ornamental. 
Maybe a well-lit room that hurts your eyes
before it swallows you, or an opening 
of skirt holding onto the hips of a woman
that wears it well, or a cavity
in the yard where I want to lay 
the language of better love, but never
your canary, parakeet, sweet
feathered thing that lives
just to sing for you.


How Her Spirit Got Out, Aforementioned Productions, 2016

Poet Bio

Krysten Hill is the author of How Her Spirit Got Out (Aforementioned Productions, 2016), which received the 2017 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize. Her work has been featured in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Series, apt, B O D Y, Boiler Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Muzzle, PANK, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 2020 Mass Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship, she received her MFA in poetry from University of Massachusetts Boston, where she currently teaches.