ISBN: 978-1-62557-078-9
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Publication Date: August 2024


Caulbearer by Luisa A. Igloria is the third selection for the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series.

In many cultures, a caul is considered talismanic; and a child born with it, possessing luck or protection. Luisa A. Igloria invokes this metaphor to weave poems exploring the veiled intervals of transition experienced by those in the diaspora—or by anyone who has felt a severing from their origins. The poems in Caulbearer enter spaces not only of nostalgia, loss, and impossible return. They also offer opportunities for glimpsing pleasure in the re-imagining and telling of our own stories, for as long and as many times as we need, in a world still full of beauty and mystery.


In this rapturous collection, Luisa A. Igloria maps sacred ecologies, violent histories, extracted geologies, and multispecies relations. Throughout, there is both praise and grief, as well as a desire to mouth nostalgia and feel the world before it is indelibly changed. Caulbearer invites us to witness the “unbearable cascade of beauty,” from the celestial birth and death of stars to the yucca moth laying eggs inside a flower. These poems reckon a salty truth: “we don’t know how long the world can hold / such specimens of tenderness.”
— Craig Santos Perez

I count Luisa A. Igloria among a select tribe of memorializers who understand that the crepe myrtle and Bathala are chromatic kin. Caulbearer fuses the cosmic, the ecological, and the colonial, to give us a courageous meditation on the crises of beginnings and endings. “For now, this certainty…” the poet generously gestures. Whether the rambutan’s diastole, the fragrance of highland pine, or the motherly communion of sea and moon, these poems are a tender offering in the tumult of our time.
— Patrick Rosal

In these remarkable poems, Luisa A. Igloria honors the gifts of nature and the chance to explore the fullness of our lives in partnership with the natural world even while lamenting the inevitability of its loss. Underscoring this environmental pain is the colonial harm enacted to a place and its people, to the land and the sea; all the while, the earth becomes a vessel for the grief we leave behind. Igloria perceptively threads past, present, and future—rich and beautifully textured—to humble us to the fragility of our existence.
— Mai Der Vang

About the Author

© Gabriela Aurora Igloria

Luisa A. Igloria

Originally from Baguio City, Luisa A. Igloria is the author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Co-Winner, 2019 Crab Orchard Open Poetry Prize, Southern Illinois University Press, 2020), The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018), and 12 other books. She is lead editor, along with co-editors Aileen Cassinetto and Jeremy S. Hoffman, of Dear Human at the Edge of Time: Poems on Climate Change in the United States (Paloma Press, September 2023). In 2015, she was the inaugural recipient of the Resurgence Poetry Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by a panel headed by former UK Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. She is a Louis I. Jaffe Professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University, and also leads workshops for and is a member of the board of The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk. During her appointed term as 20th Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-22), Emerita, the Academy of American Poets awarded her one of twenty-three Poet Laureate Fellowships in 2021, to support a program of public poetry projects.

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