64 Parishes

Poetry by Gina Ferrara

Selected by outgoing Louisiana Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy

Published: August 31, 2023
Last Updated: November 30, 2023

Poet Gina Ferrara is also an editor, educator, and nurturer of her peers. As curator of the Poetry Buffet at Latter Library, Ferrara maintains a venue for poets to meet and share their work with audiences and each other. In her poetry, Ferrara explores her Italian roots, which are planted deeply into the fabric of this often-haunting space we call the Crescent City. In these brief selections, her lines pay homage to the sweetness of blossoms and to the great Lee Grue, another poet’s poet dedicated to the New Orleans poetry scene.


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

scandent suffocations,


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.