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 2024 Poet: Amanda Gunn

Father at Table

There was what he demanded with one word
and a pointing finger—"chicken," "cornbread,"
"'tatoes"—the delicacies his labor both purchased
and prepared for us, all his long hours ours. Trying
not to interrupt the table talk that had snapped
shut and refused him. Not vain, not white folk,
he asked only one courtesy: no swearing
he could hear. He was a Christian and my father.
That godforsaken finger. How stingy it seemed
then. Now how tender, how pleading. How I bristled
at the soft of his voice, an engine rumbling under
the hood of our attention. And, oh, what kindness
I held back, expecting things he would never ask
of me: wait your turn, say thank you, say please.

Source

Things I Didn’t Do with This Body, Copper Canyon Press, 2023

Poet Bio

Amanda Gunn is a poet, teacher, and PhD candidate in English at Harvard. Raised in Connecticut, she worked as a medical copyeditor for thirteen years before earning an MFA in Poetry from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She is the recipient the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize as well as a Pushcart Prize and has received fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Her poetry appears in Poetry, Narrative Magazine, and Poetry Northwest, and her debut collection, Things I Didn’t Do With This Body, was released in 2023 from Copper Canyon Press.

To learn more about Amanda Gunn, visit her website.