Janice N. Harrington writes poetry and children’s books. She grew up in Alabama and Nebraska, and both those settings, especially rural Alabama, figure largely in her writing. Her first book of poetry, 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. Her second book of poetry, The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home, came out in 2011, and her third book, Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin, is scheduled to appear in October 2016. She is also the winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for emerging women writers. Her children’s books, The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County (2007) and Going North (2004), both from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, have won many awards and citations, including a listing among TIME Magazine’s top 10 children’s books and the Ezra Jack Keats Award from the New York Public Library. Harrington’s poetry appears regularly in American literary magazines. She has worked as a public librarian and now teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Illinois.
From reviews of The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home:
“The book is brimming with poems that are aching to latch onto the reader’s neck like an elder patient in a nursing home, pleading with the reader to listen to them and remember their stories.” —Christopher Elthun
“Harrington’s charm, and also her greatest strength, is that she never peaches, never tries to shame us, but instead brings us to feel awe-struck wonder.” —Mike Walker
Of Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Elizabeth Spires writes that Harrington’s “poems are no less than lyric, spiritual documents, sung stories that soar above the weight and repetition of daily life, transforming that dailiness into something rich and precious.”