Poetry by Gina Ferrara
Selected by outgoing Louisiana Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy
Lee’s House on Lesseps
Decades on the edge, you lived before it was vogue,
near the tracks and wharf,
newness and gentrification, neutral beige brown edifices
abound, unlike your house, the color of retro starlet lipstick,
flimsy chiffon, a fading scarlet scarf,
grasped between fingers just before flight.
A lone magnolia provides side yard shade.
The sidewalk, heaves, ultimately breaks.
Spiked in verdigris an iron fence follows its own current.
Ships blast, bellow extended annunciations
before the drawbridge lifts in deliberate acts,
clasps lock weighted with rust, after passages, epic and sudden.
The blooming order,
a trifecta in April, another trinity
gardenia, sweet olive, jasmine
specific scents answering questions of where
a sweetness masking decay, inescapable surroundings
the last stretch of solid land
when you wake to what was never yours.
A remembered shade of luminosity
the first time you heard the word
describing moonlight, pearls from a shell,
things unblemished you were told,
no litanies of red, blues darker than veins,
tiger striped or speckled petals,
white flowers opening
without starkness or struggle.
Gina Ferrara lives and writes in New Orleans. The author of five collections, her work has appeared in numerous journals including Callaloo, Poetry Ireland Review, and Tar River Poetry and was selected for publication in the Sixty-Four Best Poets of 2019 by Black Mountain Press. Since 2007 she has curated the Poetry Buffet, a monthly reading series that takes place the first Saturday of each month. She teaches English and writing at Delgado Community College and is the editor of the New Orleans Poetry Journal Press.
Announcing Incoming Poet Laureate Alison Pelegrin
64 Parishes and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities are pleased to announce the appointment of Covington resident Alison Pelegrin as the next Louisiana Poet Laureate. Pelegrin is the author of Our Lady of Bewilderment, Waterlines, Hurricane Party, and Big Muddy River of Stars, winner of the 2006 Akron Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Bennington Review, The Southern Review, Ninth Letter, and as printable broadsides at Broadsided. She is the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and an ATLAS Grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents. Pelegrin currently serves as writer-in-residence at Southeastern Louisiana University.