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 2021 Poet: JIHYUN YUN
Call down the girl from the mud-slicked mountains, pluck the evidence of August from her head of shorn kelp. This caterwauling girl, less man than animal. Cheeks smeared wild from the chokeberries she picked, brambles at the river’s lip too giving. Doesn’t she know the stained hand of generosity, never to trust it? Nothing is free. China doll. Baby. Some men want you prim on their knee: lips bite red. The coal hue of your eyes irrefutable. You were never meant to be American. Your root, they believe they can taste: carnal amen, rice milk and spice. A winter sunrise fogged in the land of morning calm. All imagined, but no matter. You are still a girl. With luck, the guilty ones will wait awhile. When the first blood releases between your thighs, they’ll come. You were born knowing to mourn this.
Some Are Always Hungry, University of Nebraska Press, 2020
Jihyun Yun is a Korean American poet from the San Francisco Bay Area. A Fulbright Research Fellow and National Poetry Series finalist, her debut collection of poetry, Some Are Always Hungry, won the 2019 Prairie Schooner Prize and was published by University of Nebraska Press in September 2020. She has received degrees in psychology and creative writing from UC Davis and New York University. Her poems have been published and anthologized in publications such as Best New Poets, AAWW The Margins, Narrative Magazine, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She currently resides in Seoul, South Korea where she is working on a YA novel as a 2021-2023 Lighthouse Book Project Fellow.