Peg Boyers


Born in San Tomé, Venezuela, poet Peg Boyers spent her childhood moving from place to place with her middle-class family. Her father was Irish-American and her mother was Cuban by way of Catalan and Basque Spaniards; as a child, Boyers lived in Cuba, Libya, Italy, and Indonesia. Her multifaceted upbringing served as inspiration for much of her creative work, as she attempts to write across cultures and embrace plural identities. A portion of her poetry collection Hard Bread (2002) uses the voice of Italian author Natalia Ginzburg, a witness to World War II, who was raised atheist despite being born to a Jewish father. Boyers inhabited the life and circumstances of Natalia Ginzburg in order to explore her own experiences, weaving in historical contexts and imagined insights. Boyers is the executive editor of Salmagundi Magazine and an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of the Arts. A lecturer at Skidmore College, Boyers teaches poetry and translation.

La Tuvería or An Earring's Lament

En Cuba tuve—


I’m tired of hearing your complaints.

All that whining about el exilio, the tragedy of loss,


In Cuba I had—


the catalogue of things, the status, the riches,

the opulence of it all.


I had a mate. We were a pair. Our mistress was young. We

were young. We would dangle on her ear


Concentrate on what you have.

Forget the past.


and go out on the town. Mojitos at La Floridita,

dancing at the Tropicana and later


No, don’t tell me about later.


in the jewel case, an aqua Tiffany box

with white satin interior, we


Tiffany’s? From New York? I didn’t know you—


would lie together in the pillowy luxury,

my ruby top layer and his aligned, our bases


Please you needn’t—


touching, my diamond waist and his forming a continuous

line. Sometimes we would switch backs, I’d push


I understand that in communities of exile

the population


my piercing needle through his back, his

through mine. That’s


tends to lose ground politically as

assimilation takes place, that


how I liked it best, a little harsh, but sweet.

Tu y yo, you and I, is what she called us because our very


longing is a constitutive ingredient

of not only the condition of exile but—


body parts were paired, he and I, forming a single unit, an I and a

thou. Apart


Surely you have adjusted. Look, you’re mounted on a ring, you

are independent, and prized. Very attractive for your age, I might add.


we are nothing. Longing doesn’t quite—


One adapts?


As to an amputation.


And La Revolución?


Don’t make me vomit.

History of your name 






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:






Intersectionality & Culture

Poems of Place


Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”