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.

December 2023 Poet: Saba Husain

When December Runs into a Tree of Gold

the earth smacks of decay 
though the sun is blinding,
rendering the leaves
a shade of ginger-lemon.
Save for the glitter of a cobweb
in the branches, or the buzz 
of an inadvertent fly,
wood chimes mimic eons. 

This is how it must feel to die.
Feet blanketed by yesterdays, 
face to the sky, I am my four-year-
old granddaughter in ponytails 
crunching leaves under my bike. 
Summers move through me,
spring clings to flimsy branches,
I am my gray-haired mother
murmuring, I am here, I am here.


Elegy for My Tongue, Terrapin Books, 2023

Poet bio:

Saba Husain is a Pakistani-American poet. Her first collection of poetry published by Terrapin Books is Elegy for My Tongue. Saba’s work appears in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, On the Seawall, Puerto del Sol, Sequestrum, Southern Poetry Anthology, The Shore, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Saba was a 2023 Perugia Press Prize finalist, as well as a 2021 and 2020 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize finalist. Her awards include first place in the 2022 Spring Equinox Hot Poet Poetry Contest, the 2020 Editor’s Choice Award from Lamar University Press, and the 2014 Lorene Pouncey Award at Houston Poetry Fest. Saba has a day job and serves on the board of Mutabilis Press. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

To learn more about Saba Husain, visit her website.