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 learned English on top of an estimated
fifty buried languages
I can dig just inches down and find
obsidian and shells
original daily life
a plum tree produced
overseas thus underdeveloped plums

through language I learned
to disembody my own body
my head hurts as if severed
I learned to relate surroundings to the self
my older sister my twin brother
my best friend my plum tree
my sister ran away
his hands around her neck
see this without eyes
I can possess
I can make a claim
sister brother friend tree
let’s let what surrounds surround


Upend, Noemi Press, 2020

Poet Bio

Claire Meuschke is the author of Upend (Noemi Press), which was longlisted for the PEN/Voelcker Award. She received a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry from Stanford University (2019-2021) and has creative writing degrees from the University of Arizona (MFA) and Pratt Institute (BFA). She was born in San Francisco, CA and currently lives in Tucson, AZ where she works to distribute traditional, arid adapted seeds.

To learn more about Claire Meuschke, visit her website.