University of the Philippines alumna Luisa Igloria named Virginia state’s Poet Laureate

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Luisa Igloria Poet Laureate
Baguio City’s Luisa Igloria is an internationally renowned poet and an award-winning educator. Photo from Luisa Igloria.

University of the Philippines (UP) alumna Luisa Igloria has been named Poet Laureate of Virginia in the United States.

The UP Baguio graduate of Humanities, Comparative Literature, English, and Philosophy, now a professor of English at the Old Dominion University (ODU), was announced a laureate by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on July 18, 2020, after being nominated by the Poetry Society of Virginia.

The Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards Hall of Famer has written nearly 20 collections of poetry.

Luisa Igloria’s most recent book, “Maps for Migrants and Ghosts,” is a co-winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Poetry Prize.

Igloria was recently featured in the ODU At Home Series of Poetry Readings online.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled that Dr. Igloria was selected to serve as Virginia’s next poet laureate,” said Kent Sandstrom, Dean of the ODU College of Arts and Letters.

“She richly deserves this distinguished honor. Dr. Igloria is an internationally renowned poet and award-winning professor whose work inspires her students and colleagues. She is also a remarkably thoughtful, bright, and engaging teacher and scholar,” the ODU official added.

“To hear that Luisa has been named poet laureate of Virginia is thrilling but not surprising news since there’s no other poet in this state more qualified for the position,” John McManus, the director of the M.F.A. creative writing program, said.

“Luisa’s dedication to her writing is unparalleled, and her poem-a-day practice awes and inspires me. She’s also an inspirational teacher: Year after year I’ve heard my student advisees describe Luisa’s classes as life-changing, and some of my favorite poets are the ones Luisa has made me aware of by including them on her syllabi. She’s singularly devoted to the success of her students; she’s also a wildly prolific and gifted poet and the most generous of colleagues,” McManus said.

Luisa Igloria, who also teaches Filipino and Filipino American Literature, started teaching at ODU in 1998 and was promoted to full professor in 2010, the year she started her one-poem-a-day project.

In an interview this year with Old Dominion’s Center for Faculty Development, she said: “I look forward to writing every day, whether I have only 30 minutes or longer. Some of the things I’ve learned: letting go of notions of perfection; learning to filter out noise (both external and internal); welcoming uncertainty and surprise.”

In 2015, Igloria received the first Resurgence Poetry Prize for her eco-poetry. “I grew up with a lot of myth, a lot of folklore, the kind of household where the elders would say if you went into the garden beyond dusk, you had to address the spirits as you walked past.”

Filipinos in America like Luisa Igloria have made their mark in the field of education including Lory Cainila who received the 2020 Excellence of Education Award in Maryland and Edralin Lucas who was awarded the Oklahoma Medal of Excellence in Teaching.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Luisa Igloria for being named the Poet Laureate of the state of Virginia.

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
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