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The Vaquita and the Unfinished Poem

The Vaquita and the Unfinished Poem

For the last 15 years or so, I have had the most incredible privilege to call one of my most cherished friends my favorite writer. While I am so proud of the traction Christina Rivera Cogswell has recently made, I am mostly thrilled for you all, those who now get to see how she flawlessly weaves together complex issues that will pull at your heart and have a lasting impact. 

When Christina told me about her recent piece to be published by Orion Magazine on extinction denial and the vanishing Vaquita, a small porpoise in the Sea of Cortez, I pressed pause on all work obligations to create a painting for her to go with her piece. 

"This essay began as a poem I couldn't finish. I wrote the first lines in the back of a classroom at a Lidia Yuknavich craft talk," Christina said.

She went on, "...I wrote into a prompt that left the pages of my journal wet. When Lidia asked for volunteers to read, I raised my hand." 

It had been the first time that Christina raised her hand in the setting of a writing class. When it was her turn to speak, she froze.

Six years have passed since that day, and Christina has written ninety thousand words to that poem, once unfinished. She said, " It still chokes me, over and over and over. But it turned out that the unfinished poem was a portal to a collection of essays."

Read the full article on Orion Magazine

You can follow her: @seekingsol. Read everything that she offers, especially this piece in Orion Magazine.