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Harrington , Janice

Janice N Harrington

Years: 2010, 2008, 2007


Janice N. Harrington's Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone (2007) won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  Formerly a librarian, she now teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois.




Pine, catalpa, pin oak, persimmon,

but not tree.


Hummingbird, hoot owl, martin, crow,

but not bird.


Cannas, honeysuckle, cockscomb, rose,

but not flower.


Wood smoke, corn, dust, outhouse,

but not stench.


A spider spinning in a rain barrel,

the silver dipper by the back porch,

tadpoles shimmying against a concrete bank,

but not silence.


A cotton row, a bucket lowered into a well,

a red dirt road, a winging crow,

but not distance.


A rooster crowing, cows lowing in the evening,

wasps humming beneath the eaves, hounds

baying, hot grease, but not music.


My mother running away at fifteen,

my grandmother lifting a truck to save a life,

an uncle at Pearl Harbor, Webster sitting

at the back of the bus when he looked as white

as they did, but not stories.


The entrails of a slaughtered sow, the child born

with a goat's face, the cousin laid on a railroad

track, the fire that burned it all, but not death.


This poem, a snuff tin sated with the hair

of all our dead, my mother's long talks

with her dead father, my great-grandmother's

clothes passed down, passed down, but not memory.