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 2022 Poet: SAIDA AGOSTINI

Photo by Kafi D’Ambrosi, The Library at Hotel Indigo Baltimore

an incomplete legend on love

Mahaica, Guyana 1935

at 10, granny jumped on to a grape tree, its boughs so fat with
fruit it diverted her eye from its own death. who could blame her
for climbing or the tree for falling, her right leg smashed underneath
its trunk. the blood spooling like threads of saffron into the green fields
the wound a quake of splitting skin and bone in her thigh. granny
into an open sky, calling for help until it birthed echoes sending her 
brother winnie to find her from three miles away. think on what it took
to hear her call, what it means for your heart to be so literate in your blood’s
pain that you will run hours to save them a single ache. we call this fealty. 
I call it prayer for the times we cannot run to save each other, the little
moments we horde in tasks that separately would not be counted
as holy


let the dead in, Alan Squire Publishing, 2022

Poet bio

Saida Agostini is a queer Afro-Guyanese poet whose work explores the ways Black folks harness mythology to enter the fantastic. Her work is featured in Plume, Hobart Pulp, Barrelhouse, and Auburn Avenue, amongst others. Saida’s work can be found in several anthologies, including Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Joy & Sexuality, The Future of Black, and Plume Poetry 9. She is the author of STUNT (Neon Hemlock, 2020), a chapbook reimagining the life of Nellie Jackson, a Black madam and FBI spy from Natchez, Mississippi. Her first full-length collection, let the dead in (Alan Squire Publishing) was released in spring 2022. A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, and member of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective, Saida is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and Best of the Net finalist. Her work has received support from the Ruby Artist Grants and the Blue Mountain Center, amongst others.

To learn more about Saida Agostini, visit her website.