January Gill O’Neil

January Gill O’Neil (Poetry) | Beverly, MA

Booking Fee:

$500 + hotel and travel

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January Gill O’Neil is the author of two poetry collections, Misery Islands and Underlife, published by CavanKerry Press. A third collection, Rewilding, will be published by CavanKerry Press in fall 2018. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, an assistant professor of English at Salem State University, and board of trustees member with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). With Ben Berman, she co-edits poetry for the literary magazine Solstice: a Magazine of Diverse Voices. A Cave Canem fellow, January’s poems and articles have appeared in American Poetry Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares, among others. Previously, January was a senior writer/editor at Babson College. She earned her BA from Old Dominion University and her MFA at New York University. She lives with her two children in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Misery Islands was selected for a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Additionally, Mass Center for the Book chose Misery Islands as a Must-Read Book for 2015 and it won the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award.


Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press 2014). Poetry.
Underlife (CavanKerry 2009). Poetry.

Press & Reviews

“O’Neil candidly writes about family … of single-motherhood and of love, and in doing so penetrates the exquisiteness of the everyday while also highlighting the challenges of living as artist and mother. Indeed, there is fine balance of imagery and story and song that makes this a fine collection to own, to read back one’s own solitariness, one’s own joy.”
—Major Jackson

“O’Neil offers masterfully complex portraits of childhood―both through the speaker’s memory and observations of her own children. She writes equally well about sex, marriage, rural life, and the suburbs with candid observations and evocative imagery. O’Neil’s collection is substantial, playful, and compassionate―even when dealing with difficult themes such as alcoholism and racism. Her narrative threads take surprising and enigmatic leaps, yet are always clear, accessible, wonderfully real.” —Denise Duhamel

“O’Neil praises life with a subtle wisdom wrapped inside the most delicious language Underlife is an exact eloquence, an excellent beginning.”
—Afaa Michael Weaver

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