Writers-in-residence Luisa A. Igloria and Jeffrey DeShell to read works with diverse origins



Inspiration can come from a variety of places. For one, it might be a favorite film; for another, it could be their cultural history. Week Three’s poet- and prose writer-in-residence — Luisa A. Igloria and Jeffrey DeShell — are examples of this. They will be doing a reading of their work at 3:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, July 11 on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch. 

Igloria is the author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis and 12 other books. She was the inaugural recipient of the 2015 Resurgence Poetry Prize for ecopoetry and is a Louis I. Jaffe Professor of English and creative writing in the master of fine arts program at Old Dominion University. She leads workshops for The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, and in July 2020 she was appointed the Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

For the last 10 years, Igloria has been writing a poem a day and is excited to share some of her newest pieces with Chautauquans. She views it as a good way to get feedback on her ideas that haven’t made it into a book yet. She will also read a selection from her latest book, Maps for Migrants and Ghosts

I write a lot about being an immigrant and a woman of color, of being someone from a nation that was formerly colonized — not just once, but at least twice over. All those inform the body of my work.

Luisa A. Igloria
Chautauqua Writers’ Center

Igloria is known for writing ecopoetry, poetry that has an ecological emphasis or message. However, she prefers not to attribute labels to the poetry she writes. She grew up in Baguio City, Philippines, where certain ideas about the world, nature and humanity’s relationship to those things were simply a part of life. 

“I do write a lot about place,” Igloria said. “I write a lot about being an immigrant and a woman of color, of being someone from a nation that was formerly colonized — not just once, but at least twice over. All those inform the body of my work.”

She will be teaching a poetry workshop class titled “Writing at the Edge of the Irreversible” over the course of Week Three. In addition, she will be offering a Brown Bag at 12:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday on the Virtual Porch titled “Bodies, Histories and the Architectures of Poem-making.”

Jeffrey DeShell has published seven novels and a critical book on the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. His most recent book is Masses and Motets. He was a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Budapest, and he has taught in Northern Cyprus, the American Midwest and at the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. He is currently the director of creative writing at the University of Colorado at Boulder. 


DeShell finds his inspiration not from past personal experiences but in the other art forms he surrounds himself with — film, visual art, and most recently, music. He has been working on a series of detective novels where each novel is based on a different musical problem, and he will be reading an excerpt from one. 

It typically takes DeShell four or five years to write a novel, and he prefers to pick his inspiration from what he is interested in learning about. A good example of this is his book Arthouse. The novel is one continuous story; however, each chapter is based on a different film and adopts the film’s style in one way or another. 

“I’m not one of those writers who has a lot of stories in them, you know, who just has to get stories out,” DeShell said.  “I need a crutch, in a sense, to help me make some decisions.”

Along with his reading, DeShell will be teaching a workshop class titled “Stealing Beauty: ‘Translating’ from the Sister Arts.” He will also be offering a Brown Bag by the same name at 12:15 p.m. EDT Friday on the Virtual Porch.

Tags : brown bagPoetrywriters-in-residenceWriters’ Center
Sarah Vest

The author Sarah Vest