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 2023 Poet: Karisma Price


          after Chen Chen
As happiness, As the wailing tambourine
that replaced my uncle's gun, As the dancing
it does when he waves it at the man who cut him
off, As the rattle of pills in my father's
hands to slow the multiplying cells,
As me thinking something can be
holy, As a pig, As a poem that doesn't mention
the word father, or water, or drowned,
As a lie as red as a crow's mouth,
As a streetlight whose bulb never breaks,
As a mother who has a child who's allowed to be
nothing more than their age, As weeknight curfew,
As reparations, As a new car, As a down payment,
As the bay leaf inside the pot of red beans boiling
on Mardi Gras day, As a Zulu coconut, As something
so dark you have no other option but to call it
precious, As a sibling, As a rotten tooth,
As an aunt who has warmed the leftovers
of our family before sundown, As whatever's 
left of my skeleton after the family pet
has sucked the sorrow from every bit of my marrow.


I’m Always so Serious, Sarabande Books, 2023

Poet Bio

Karisma Price is an assistant professor of English at Tulane University. A poet, screenwriter, and media artist, she is the author of I’m Always so Serious (Sarabande Books, 2023). Her work has appeared in publications including Poetry, Indiana Review, Oxford American, Four Way Review, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, and elsewhere. She is a Cave Canem Fellow, was a finalist for the 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize, and was awarded the 2020 J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation. A native New Orleanian, she holds an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she was a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow.

To learn more about Karisma Price, visit her website.