Today's poem is "The Divider"
from The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home

BOA Editions

Janice N. Harrington writes poetry and children’s books. She grew up in Alabama and Nebraska, and both those settings 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. She is also the winner of a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry and a 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for emerging women writers. The author as well of award-winning children’s books, Harrington now teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois.

Other poems by Janice N. Harrington in Verse Daily:
April 18, 2007:   "Shaking the Grass" " Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me..."

Books by Janice N. Harrington:

Other poems on the web by Janice N. Harrington:
Three poems
"Wild Onion"
"Ode to the Bedpan"

Janice N. Harrington's Website.

Janice N. Harrington's Website.

About The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home:

"To memorialize and to terrify - these twin impulses surge through Janice N. Harrington's The hands of Strangers The book's alternating currents both vivify and shock. Here, Harrington memorializes our nursing home nameless and redeems them in lyric afterlife — assigning the forgotten name of `May Engles,' for instance, to a fresh poetic form, a newly discovered orchid, or a lover's bedside whisper. Here as well, the poet delivers subtle terrors of aging bodies and minds — a bruise, a canker, a human eye now sparkless. Doing so, Harrington renders for her readers the essential human predicament in lines bristling equally with compassion and dread. Through a litany of bedpan and catheter, song and curse, Harrington tugs upon readers' clean sleeves with one untidy `certainty.' This, her sometimes whisper, her sometimes finger pinch — that we too shall wait, bedridden and alone, 'seeking compassion / from the hands of strangers.' Harrington's is a deeply human book, unsettling and surpringly redemptive."
—Kevin Stein

"Janice N. Harrington's astonishingly moving second book is an eye-opening celebration of both sides of a relationship that has rarely if ever been so deeply examined in our literature. Harrington achieves a delicate balance between the fragile lives of nursing home residents and the difficult tasks performed by the hardworking strangers who care for them, giving us unforgettable portraits of both. A master of physical and narrative detail, Harrington pulls no punches, cataloging body parts and caregiving tools, describing abuse as well as compassion; meanness as well as infirmity. But a multitude of poetic and rhetorical strategies raises the book to a breathtaking level of eloquence that brings dignity and honor to lives that are all too often forgotten or taken for granted."
—Martha Collins

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