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 modest 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.
April 2023 Poet: Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe
Sparkwood and 21
In the black lodge of my living room, red tick of alarm clock pulsing, Laura Palmer strikes like a match, setting fire to everything. Beneath a netting of medication, a sort of healing. It begins on the sofa. That’s how I know she’s here to show me something about myself. Out in those woods she’s been waiting. Beneath branches. Standing below the amber glow of owl eyes, breaking pitch with embers’ slow ignition. This is where I get to know her. A spark in the rain-swept city. She curls her finger in my hair to make sure I’m listening. Now comes her breath on kindling. A whispered story fire walk with me my body, a curled leaf alone on the pullout. Pill-spelled in the witching hour. In the dark between worlds, it is not a coincidence the two of us met here, where a girl’s story can fall across an entire town, like pine needles.
From Rose Quartz by Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2023). Copyright © 2023 by Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.
Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe is from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribes. Native to the Pacific Northwest, she draws inspiration from her coastal heritage as well as her life in the city. She writes with a focus on trauma and resilience, ranging topics from PTSD, sexual violence, the work her great grandmother did for the Lushootseed language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage. Sasha teaches creative writing at the Native Pathways Program at Evergreen and is a mentor for Seattle’s youth poet laureate program. Her memoir Red Paint has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Shelf Awareness and is available through Counterpoint Press. Her collection of poetry Rose Quartz is available through Milkweed Editions.