November 5, 2008

Review by Michele Battiste

EVEN THE HOLLOW MY BODY MADE IS GONE
by Janice N. Harrington

BOA Editions, Ltd.
260 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604
ISBN 978-1-929918-89-8
2007, 85 pp., $15.50
boaeditions.org/

Janice N. Harrington won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize for Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone, a distinction she shares with the likes of Li-Young Lee, Dorianne Laux and Kim Addonizio. Harrington, like her predecessors, is doing her share of (re)building poetry’s readership. She writes for readers, welcoming them to her poems, drawing them in with narratives and pleasurable rhythms and anchoring refrains and, dare I say it, musical hooks.

I was drawn in when I went to hear Harrington read on a cold, rainy February evening in New York during the 2008 AWP Conference. Her voice warmed up the room like the woodstoves in her poems. But it isn’t her reading skills alone that can shake a readership out of two dozen bodies shifting their weight in metal chairs, it is her ability to breathe life into the subjects of her poems, to lift them off the page and to place them into her readers’ laps like a gift.

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