Thursday, December 1, 2022


Luisa A. Igloria presents the Introduction to



(University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2022)


Which poet wrote that there is a difference between falling into a ditch because one is not paying attention, and stumbling because one is intent on a star; or is it the moon? 

Very likely, if the poet is J. Likha Yatco (Babeth Lolarga), it is the moon, that “orb/ of small light/ that revitalizes/ [the] soul”—the same moon whose reflection in the Yangtze River Li Po tried to embrace, thereby falling from his boat. 

Throughout literature, the idea of the unreachable or the ineffable has been one of the most powerful instigations for poets. It might be worded in different ways and embodied in different poetic forms— pursuit of the Muse, the quest for the Beloved, a maddening dance with one’s Duende. 

But in all these, the poet (bound by earth, bound by appetite, bound by time) comes to understand that her work is the work of the almost impossible: how does one find words so that even those experiences which we feel we don’t have enough words for, can find their shape and sound? 

                                   “…how can 
                                    i ignore 
                                    the lesson?

                                    time unfurling
                                    like a leaf
                                    brings me
                                    closer to 
                                    an eternity
                                    where i won’t
                                    ever ever mind
                                    the absence of sleep
                                    the nothingness
                                    of night”

- from “Nothing Goes Away”

In these poems, Babeth conjures both the sweet ache of longing as well as a gathered aromatic of leaves that might spell prophecy or chance or a clearing. 

Of course, these poems are shot through with the moon’s silver, with its female energy, its reflective light. Mercurial, it shows its many faces: longing, lonely, hungry, full. Mystical and mysterious, it governs the tides and flows in women’s bodies. 

Majestic, it inspires wonder in both the young and old: a child holds a ball and calls it “moon,” a child lisps “boon” for balloon…also meaning “a gift,/ even abundance.”

In poetry, the moon is at home, and vice versa; and in both, enchantment and empathy hold hands and remind us to “believe in the humblest of things/ [for] they waken to dreams too.” 

~ Luisa A. Igloria, 20th Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia



Luisa A. Igloria is originally from Baguio City in the Philippines. She is the author of 14 books of poetry and 4 chapbooks. In July 2020, Governor Ralph Northam appointed her as the 20th POET LAUREATE of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In April, she was one of 23 Poet Laureate recipients nationwide of a 2021 Poet Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. She has four daughters and now makes her home in Virginia with most of her family. She is a Louis I. Jaffe Professor of Creative Writing and English, and from 2009-2015 was Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. In the Spring Term 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Visiting Writer in Residence at Washington & Lee University. More information is at

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