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Judy Jordan

Born: 1961
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Jordan currently lives in her own environmentally friendly earthbag-and-cob house, in which she lives with her rescued dogs off-grid, surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. She is an Associate Professor of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Biography: Judy Jordan is an Associate Professor of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and teaches Creative Writing. She earned her bachelor's degree and a master of fine arts degree in poetry from the University of Virginia in 1990 and 1995 respectively and earned a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the University of Utah in 2000. Jordan was the assistant professor of literature and creative writing with a cross appointment in women's studies at the San Marcos campus of California State University. Along with the books she has published, Jordan's work also appears in two anthologies - Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days and Floodgate Poetry Series 2. Jordan also founded the SIPRAW, which rescues dogs out of the puppy mills, and practices kundalini yoga.

  • '''''Carolina Ghost Woods'''''
  • -- Walt Whitman Award, Academy of American Poets, 1999
  • -- National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, 2000
  • -- Book of the Year Award, Utah
  • -- OAY Award, Poetry Council of North Carolina
  • -- Thomas Wolfe Literary Award

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction; Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

60 Cent Coffee and a Quarter to Dance
ISBN: 080712995X OCLC: 57357496

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : ©2005.

Following her critically acclaimed first book of poetry, Carolina Ghost Woods, Judy Jordan here returns to a time in her life when she was homeless and working as a pizza deliverer at a Greek immigrant--owned restaurant. She absorbs the life experiences and unmet dreams of her coworkers, the parking lot prostitutes, and the other homeless with whom she shares coffee refills and the warmth of the bus station terminal. Their voices, along with Jordan's, come together in a haunting chorus that bears witness to the misery of poverty in the richest country in the world.Childhood abuse, drug use, violence, disease, and war enter into many of the stories that form this collective tale. Sometimes broken and eerie, sometimes lyrical and beautiful, and other times quirkily humorous, the poems gain an added edginess by the use of fixed forms and the re-imagining of the sonnet in the mouths of the twentieth century's wounded and alienated. Ultimately, Jordan explores the place of beauty, verse, and narrative in helping to move us into a future in which everyone's story is told.

Carolina Ghost Woods
ISBN: 0807125555 OCLC: 42935670

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : ©2000.

The daughter of sharecroppers and raised on a small farm near the Carolinas' border, Judy Jordan in her first poetry collection transforms the harshness of her youth with the beauty, inventiveness, and musicality of language. Physical and emotional privation, familial violence, racial enmity, and recurrent death haunt Carolina Ghost Woods, which is set amid the lush landscape of the South and enfolds the wildness -- inclement and consoling by turns -- of nature and agriculture. Jordan, though, reveals compassion as well as passion for her subject matter and the people in her poems, creating lines of hope and chords of ecstatic energy out of despair. She offers a poetry of witness that does not sacrifice the aesthetics of language and rhythm: Here I bring my sorrows like the delft blue mussel shells, fingertip tiny, most beautiful when strewn wide with loss.

ISBN: 194398106X OCLC: 1019432417

Jordan's poetry explores the experiences of homelessness and hunger as a result of the failure of our nation's health system.