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.

November 2021 Poet: KAREN RIGBY 

The New York Botanical Garden

The audio tour explains harvesting
palm hearts. Outside, hoarfrost burns the lawn.
I'm inside the snow-globed conservatory peering into
a replica hut: hammock slung
from a beam, mortar and pestle
stationed on the floor. Placards label
everything like a crime. Tell me
something new about the manicole acreage.
A human organ salvaged from the wreck,
my own heart tinned.


Chinoiserie, Ahsahta Press, 2012

Poet Bio

Karen Rigby was born in the Republic of Panama in 1979. Her debut poetry book, Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012), was selected by Paul Hoover for a 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. Karen’s work has been honored by a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and a Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council artist opportunity grant. Her poetry is published in journals such as The London MagazineSouthern Humanities Review, and Australian Book Review. She’s read at venues including Rice University, Saint Vincent College, and the Tucson Festival of Books. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Minnesota, Karen freelances as a book reviewer. She lives in Arizona.

To learn more about Karen Rigby, visit her website.