Luisa A. Igloria, a Norfolk poet with an international reputation, has been named Virginia’s poet laureate. For two years, she’ll be the state’s chief ambassador for poetry.
We can tell you the usual biographical detail: that Igloria, a native of Baguio City in the Philippines, teaches writing at ODU, where she’s also been a central force in the annual literary festival. That she’s written several books of poetry, and has received a long list of poetry prizes. That her work extends beyond the ODU classroom, that she teaches at the Muse Writers Center and was Washington & Lee’s first Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence. And more.
But the visceral thing, the immediate evidence, lies in the wonders Igloria posts daily at ViaNegativa.us. Her output shames writers who struggle to produce one original thought per week, if at all. Her works are not only gorgeously evocative but also subtly (or forthrightly) political, and quietly rending.
Here’s the start of a July 17 piece:
our fathers tell of their wars:
of living among
the ghosts of
they scooped out of ditches
and made sing in their bellies.
Natasha Trethewey called Igloria’s “What Is Left of Wings, I Ask” “a lovely, piercing book of distances, the longing engendered by displacement, resilience in the face of sorrow, of ‘gathering darkness,’ and the nature of home — what it means to leave one for another. These are poems rooted in a haunting and quintessential American experience.”
Igloria’s newest work, “Maps for Migrants and Ghosts,” is due in the fall from Southern Illinois University Press. She’s the second ODU faculty member to be named poet laureate in five years: Tim Seibles, now retired, held the position from 2016 to 2018.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the icon of civil rights and human grit and grace who died July 17, wrote a memoir with the help of Norfolk’s Mike d’Orso. It’s “Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement” (1998).
Mark your calendar: Hampton Roads Writers plans a virtual program for mid-September, packed with webinars. More on that soon.
Cheating: no big deal, he says. A U.K. thriller writer, Mark Dawson, said he bought his way onto the Sunday Times bestseller list by buying 400 of his own hardcovers. Nielsen Bookscan recalculated the list without his purchases, and the Times issued a correction. Dawson: Meh – “If I was intent on ‘gaming the system’ I would have bought 10k copies, sat on them forever and been number one. (I wouldn’t have discussed it on a popular podcast, either).” (Publishers Lunch)
Grants for literary groups: The Andew W. Mellon Foundation has set aside $3.5 million in a Literary Arts Emergency Fund for nonprofit publishers and organizations affected by the pandemic. Apply by Aug. 7. www.literaryartsemergencyfund.submittable.com
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s imprisoned former lawyer, sued the attorney general and the Bureau of Prisons on Monday. He said he was sent back to prison (from a medical home confinement) because he refused to stop writing a tell-all. The feds deny that. Thursday, a federal judge agreed, said the move was retaliatory and ordered him released to home confinement. (New York Post, NYT)
Obituaries: Chris Dickey, foreign correspondent and author of several books, died of a heart attack at 68. Among his works: “Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South,” a follow-up to which he was wrapping up; one about the NYPD in the 9/11 era, “Securing the City”; and “With The Contras: A Reporter in the Wilds of Nicaragua.” … Robert Hellenga, author of “Love, Death and Rare Books” and other novels, was 79. … Josephine Cox, bestselling British author of 60 books including “Her Father’s Sins,” was 82. … Cover designer Adalis Martinez, who designed prominent book covers including “Because We are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought,” was 29; she had cancer. (Publishers Lunch)
New and recent
Jeremy Moore, a local personal trainer who has cystic fibrosis, has published “Trail Map to Muscle: How to Defeat Genetics, Disease, and Build A Confident Body.” (178 pp.; via Amazon.) CF, he says, makes building muscle difficult; cardio and weight training, he says, help strengthen and clear lungs. “The book came about as me wanting to help others who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis as I do, and help others who have something holding them back from building muscle and getting in shape.”
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