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posted Sep 28, 2016, 12:13 PM by kristin naca   [ updated Oct 11, 2016, 3:18 PM ]

Why Being “On Fire” Is for Everyone

      Man on Fire, 1969, by Luis Jiménez

Soneto de Silueta

        Untitled, from the Silueta series, 1980, by Ana Mendieta

Kristin Naca

Kristin Naca, also known as Iyawó, earned a BA from the University of Washington, an MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska. Her collection of poems, Bird Eating Bird (2009), was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the mtvU National Poetry Series. 
Naca’s poetry explores her multicultural Puerto Rican and Filipina heritage, sexuality, and interest in linguistics. A selection of poems in Bird Eating Bird are written in Spanish, a language that Naca learned in order to better understand her Puerto Rican background. In an interview for, she explained that “the poems document my mouth conforming to the sounds of words.” Naca also described the process of intense revision in completing her collection as “doing reverse taxidermy, refitting the poems’ skins around clouds of ideas.”

Bird Eating Bird was a 2010 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and Naca was awarded an Honorable Mention in Poetry from the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund. Her poems and essay, “Life Altars,” details her initiation as a santera in Art Papers. She teaches Asian American and Latino literature and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.