January Gill O'Neil


January Gill O’Neil was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and received a BA from Old Dominion University and an MFA from New York University. She is the author of Rewilding (CavanKerry Press, 2018), recognized by Mass Center for the Book as a notable poetry collection for 2018; Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014), winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O'Neil was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and was named the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence for 2019-2020 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She is an associate professor of English at Salem State University and holds board positions at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and Montserrat College of Art. O'Neil was the curator of a special series of Poem-a-Day from July 6–July 17, 2020, and lives in Beverly, Massachusetts. Source

excerpt from “In Praise of Okra”

I write this poem

in praise of okra

& the cooks who understood

how to make something out of nothing.

Your fibrous skin

melts in my mouth—

green flecks of flavor,

still tough, unbruised,

part of the fabric of earth.

Soul food.





Literary Movements:

Anthology Years:




Intersectionality & Culture

Joy & Praise

Literary Devices:


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.


a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)

Slant Rhyme

A rhyme where the words have similar sounds in their stressed syllables.