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janan alexandra Wins Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry

janan alexandra Wins Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry

janan alexandra Wins Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry


Her poem “on form & matter” will be published in the Beloit Poetry Journal

Arts Editor

November 2, 2023

Aaliyah Wang '25

janan alexandra, instructor in English, who spells her name in lowercase and goes by “ms. janan” as a teacher, is the winner of the 2023 Adrienne Rich Award from the Beloit Poetry Journal (BPJ). The prize is given annually in recognition of a single poem. It is accompanied by a $1,500 award and publication of the winning poem in the journal. 

ms. janan joined the school full-time in 2022 after teaching Creative Writing at the MacLeish Scholars program the previous summer. Her poems have been featured in multiple literary journals, including Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, and The Adroit Journal. 

The final judge for this year’s prize was Marie Howe, former State Poet of New York. She selected ms. janan’s poem “on form & matter” as this year’s winner. Ms. Howe said, “I kept coming back to this poem which looks deceptively simple—folding sheets at the communal laundry. But it holds so much: one and many, what is and what might be, you and me, head and heart, garden and the appearance of garden, the present and the future—all bundled into the now of folding. I felt addressed as a reader, folded in, included in this poet’s philosophical reverie, and I felt joy.” 

When asked about the theme of the winning poem, ms. janan said, “I love the idea of attending to what we love— from the most mundane things to the most grand—a birthday, a garden, or, best of all, the small and repetitive histories of our hearts.” 

ms. janan offered advice to student writers. She said, “I’ve found that most writing doesn’t actually come from feeling inspired, it comes from showing up to the page over and over again. It’s like sports or music or anything else. You don’t practice when you’re inspired. You practice all the time.” 

Dr. Katie Fleishman, head of the English department, said, “This is such a tremendous accomplishment and really a reflection of the care ms. janan puts into her work as a poet, in addition to being a teacher here at Hotchkiss.” 

ms. janan is currently working on the manuscript for her first full-length book of poetry.

Aaliyah Wang is a arts editor for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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