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Winner of the 5th Annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2008 Kate Tufts Discovery Award
Janice N. Harrington's collection Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone was selected from over 900 manuscripts by judge Elizabeth Spires as winner of BOA's 5th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. The book was selected winner of the 2008 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. As Elizabeth Spires writes in her Foreword to the collection, "Like a stringed instrument that continues to vibrate after the musician has ceased playing, Harrington's poems resonate. Without in any way simplifying or ignoring the darker side of life-pain, loss, death, injustice--Harrington is a celebratory poet who sees with the fresh, wondering eye of a child, but knows with the mind and heart of an adult." "Her rich, colloquial poems draw on both folklore and science, and are tributes to her weary but tenacious family in their journey North."–The Tartan "Early in the manuscript, Harrington introduces her readers to the constructed world we are to inhabit. She proclaims in the last line of the first poem, ‘I build a house for us. Rejoice.’ And what follows is her brilliant foundation, and many reasons for praise."–Post No Ills Magazine
Henry Ossawa Tanner's "The Banjo Lesson," 1893
How does it feel to run the tip of one
finger along the edge of a banjo wire?
Which is heavier, a banjo
or an old man's breath?
The sound of banjo strings
plucked by a colored boy is the sound
of twanging, of tur-pen-tine, pine tar, plank,
of pennies of rain spattered on scalded tin.
Boy and man frailed by light and strokes
of paint, surrounded by chair, table, kettle,
crock, a cooling skillet, a pipe exhaling
smoke, and mystery: beside an unseen
pane--a black coat: journey, the small
griefs we throw across our shoulders.
Between daylight and firelight,
these bright emberes, O trembling
strings! Darkness is never satisfied.
Beside the useful plates, pitcher, and bread,
on the table's altar cloth, these questions:
Should we buzzard lope and knee bone bend
in a ring dance of stuttered steps, or strike
the drumhead, strum, strum, strumming
strident chords? Should we pluck the reeling
notes or embrace and blow embers into flame?
Pull a vein from your right ventricle,
stretch it taut, slant one thumbnail and pluck it.
Listen--does it sound anything like rain?
© BOA Editions, Ltd 2007
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-929918-89-8
Publishing Date: April 2007
|Authors||Janice N. Harrington|