NEA Literature Fellowships

Diana Marie Delgado

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(2017 - Poetry)

"Little Swan"

Most nights I’m face-to-face with the stars. No
one is more afraid of this than me.

I find places to lie down and
signify, I’m practicing

a play where my brother is in prison and
I’m locked out of the house.

Talking is like falling down or
watching your uncle

pull himself onto his wheelchair, the
sun moving over

his arms like a blessing. At
least I have a mother

who can sew her name into
my hair.

I want to lie in her stomach again,
understand the drive to hurt

something young and
wild with stars.

Scene: my father and brother enter and
one of them says,

You should start this story with
the death of a child

Words on my shoulder.
Words in my hair.

Diana Marie Delgado received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University and a BA in Poetry from University of California, Riverside. Her poetry chapbook, Late-Night Talks With Men I Think I Trust, selected by Cornelius Eady, won the Center for Book Arts 2015 Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and Fourteen Hills. She has been awarded numerous awards, with the most recent from Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and The Frost Place Conference on Poetry. A poet and playwright, her work is rooted in her experiences growing up Mexican-American in Southern California.

Photo by Ana Leiva Photography

Author's Statement

Writing poetry is possibly the most precarious of challenges that one can choose in life. Thanks to an NEA grant I will be able to meet this challenge by taking much-needed time off to write a book that I have dreamt of writing my entire life.