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.



I have yet to learn, why hurricane the trees
	bending nests and necks down until they snap
		and migrate in all the wrong, wrong spaces
	like the boats un-strapping, one by one under the waters
like an unbeliever caught in a killer stare
	between lands and the wild fever for escape.
		Some nights, memory writhes in the spark,
	and even when striding fingers over ears, faint still screams,
		as a river does trying to keep a royal tone
	over rocks, and cars, and debris,
			but I cannot stop un-strapping the waters in replay
		while minding the push through these rural parts,
	but still, we nest in the aftermath of trees. If we could only fly,
mind to be that head, like a cockerel
	witnessing the twist of humans thinned
		almost as unruly kites,
			strung and fallen under the wrung, wrung parts—


Surge, great weather for MEDIA, 2017

Poet Bio

Michelle Whittaker is a West Indian-American poet and the author of Surge, which was awarded a Finalist Medal for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in Poetry. She has been published in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Shenandoah, Upstreet, Pank Magazine, and other publications. She has received a Pushcart Special Mention, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a New York Foundation of Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University.

To learn more about Michelle Whittaker, visit her website.