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Poets & Writers Spotlights Two BOA Authors

The Jan/Feb issue of Poets & Writers is themed as "The New Year's Guide to an Inspired Writing Life." As most writers will tell you, inspiration is a mirage floating in the distance reachable only by years of hard work. However, what artist can deny that there are the occasional "flashes" that may well be described as inspiration? Whatever your view of "inspiration" we're pleased to have Janice N. Harrington and Deborah Brown spotlighted in the issue. Both are past winners of BOA's A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize contest with their books Walking the Dog's Shadow (Deborah Brown) and Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone (Janice N. Harrington). Harrington's book also went on to win the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award. This year, we published her second full-length collection, The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home [caption id="attachment_1163" align="alignleft" width="118" caption="Janice N. Harrington"]Janice N. Harrington[/caption] The Hands of Strangers portrays the tensions and moments of grace between aged nursing home residents and their healthcare workers.  The poems show aides as anonymous figures laboring under routines, time clocks, and a distant medical hierarchy.  They tell also tell the stories of how the nursing home industry reshapes lives, bodies, and identities of both aides and the aged. Harrington - who worked in nursing homes during college - explained the "inspiration" for the book: "Like many of the 'girls' I worked with, I was young and inexperienced in a workplace that demanded empathy, skill, and compassion for the needs and stories of the elderly. I worked my way through college as a nurses’ aide.  I wrote The Hands of Strangers because I cannot forget the 'girls' I worked with or the 'residents' under my care.  I haven’t forgotten what I saw, heard, felt, or learned. Human stories hide behind the walls, the national statistics, and the isolations of institutionalized aging.  I wanted to share some of those stories." In Poets & Writers online feature on inspiration she begins, "Inspiration? A sleepless night helps, when my mind has nothing to do but wander. I'm also inspired by..."  Read the rest of Janice's inspirations here [Janice N. Harrington on Inspiration
[caption id="attachment_1359" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Deborah Brown"]Deborah Brown[/caption] Deborah Brown is profiled in the Inspiration issue's feature "Our Seventh Annual Look at Debut Poets" in celebration of her debut collection, Walking the Dog's Shadow. The book was selected by Tony Hoagland as winner of BOA's 2010 Poulin Prize. Hoagland also wrote a Foreword for the collection.
In the Poets & Writers feature Brown describes how her book began to take shape. "The book evolved over years. It's at least my third complete manuscript, and it doesn't resemble the first or even the second very much at all. Writing the book was a matter of working on individual poems and, as my writing developed, seeing how they fit together." The feature goes on to talk about the writers who inspire her, the amount of time it took to write the book ("Twenty years, give or take, depending on which manuscript you count") and other interesting tidbits about the debut author who gives her age as, "I am a member of the AARP." Congratulations to Deborah Brown and Janice N. Harrington for being poets who "inspire" us all!


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