Isabella “Isa” Borgeson is a queer, multiracial Filipina American artist, international spoken word poet, writer, and educator from Oakland, California who views her poetry as an artistic extension of her activism and community organizing. Isa was named a finalist for Best New Poets 2018, after being nominated for her poem “relearning Ocean.” She has received fellowships from Voices of Our Nation Art Foundation (2015, 2017) and the Poetry Incubator through Poetry Foundation and Crescendo Literary (2016). As AIR Serenbe’s 2019 Spoken Word Artist with a commitment to Community and Collaboration (SWACC!) Fellow, she recently participated in a month-long writing residency in Serenbe, Georgia.
In December 2015, Isa was selected as one of four poets in the world to perform at the United Nations Climate Change negotiations in Paris for COP21, where she spoke to global leaders about the impact of climate change on her Philippines homeland. Her poetry is influenced by the two years she spent organizing grassroots relief and rehabilitation projects after super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda devastated her mother's hometown.
She has been featured on CNN, the Inquirer, Guardian, and Berkeley News, and has shared the stage with influential figures including Dr. Cornel West. Her work has been published by BOAAT Press, The Blueshift Journal, Hot Metal Bridge, UVA Press, and more. Her passion and commitment toward social justice issues and teaching poetry as a tool for resistance keeps her grounded in her communities across the Pacific Ocean – a homeland from Oakland to Tanauan.