Published March 21, 2021

As part of the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Festival of the Book, Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria (Maps for Migrants and Ghosts) and Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley (Dēmos: An American Multitude) read from and discussed their work exploring how language serves as a key and a map to the places and people that have been lost. Weaving together personal and family histories—from Igloria’s childhood in the Philippines to Kingsley’s intersection of Onondaga, Japanese, Cuban, and Appalachian cultures—these poets document the transformative promise and simultaneous intolerance of American society. Moderated by Lauren K. Alleyne.

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Thanks to our bookseller for this event, New Dominion Bookshop.

“It’s telling, the things / we return to,’ writes Luisa A. Igloria in this masterful new collection, where memory takes us on a journey that is full of music and wisdom. I opened this book on the poems about her mother and fell in love with this voice, one that has learned to be ‘completely alone, even among others,’ a voice that knows how to enter the dark and find music in it. This lyric record of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts is a journey both spiritual and personal, one that understands that at our most private we still live in history, yet finds, in the terrors of that history, a healing melody, a tune.” —Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

““Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley’s book Dēmos is a powerhouse collection of poems by a powerhouse poet. Dēmos showcases the range of the poet―one who can write lullaby lyrics and in the very next poem mold words out of fire. The energy in these poems is electric as Naka-Hasebe Kingsley explores and condemns the many injustices towards Native Americans and other marginalized communities throughout our short history. Naka-Hasebe Kingsley’s poems are unflinching, unrelenting, disarming, and brilliant in their range, form, and language. This is a necessary book of ferocity and strength during a challenging time.” ―Victoria Chang

Community Partners

Thanks to American Indian & Indigenous Community Center at Virginia Tech and The Muse Writers Center for sharing information about this event.

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