English Professor Wins Recognition for Poetry
For the second time in less than a year, an English professor from the University of Illinois has received a national award for poetry. Janice N. Harrington received one of the six 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards, which are awarded annually to female writers who “demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers.”
The award was established in 1995 by novelist Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) to honor female writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
“Rona Jaffe’s legacy is the real story,” says Harrington. “She’s enabled women to pursue their goals as artists. The award is not only an honor, but also a challenge to meet Jaffe’s high standard, and to make a difference in the lives of others.”
The award brings with it a $25,000 prize, which Harrington will use to finish Night Shift, a collection of poems based on her experience working as a nurse’s aide in nursing homes in Nebraska. She also is working on a poetry manuscript on Horace H. Pippin, an African American folk artist who created his work in the 1930s and ’40s.
Harrington’s first book of poems, Even the Hollow My Body Made is Gone, was published in 2007. It received the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize in 2006 and the 2008 Kate Tufts Discovery Award.
Her poetry also has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Field, Harvard Review and other journals. Her work has been supported by fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem and the National Endowment for the Arts.