Jeanine Hathaway’s poems are earthy, grounded in the physical, playful, but also haunted by glimpses of transcendence. Weighted with history but never overawed by it, her work makes the ancient and contemporary equally real; their juxtaposition is at once gorgeous and unsettling. At the heart of her poetry is the intuition that doubt—even chronic, unsettling doubt—is the handmaiden of faith. We also recommend Jeanine’s novel, Motherhouse; it’s out of print, but scrounge up a copy of this gem. Jeanine has twice taught at the Glen Workshop and is much loved by her students.
Jeanine Hathaway is the author of the novel Motherhouse, and a forthcoming poetry collection: The Self as Constellation, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in poetry. She has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including DoubleTake, The Georgia Review, The Greensboro Review, River Styx, The Ohio Review, and The Best Spiritual Writing. She received the Wichita State University Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1993, as well as the Seaton Award for Poetry in both 1985 and 1990. She is Associate Professor of English at Wichita State University.
“Right now, I’m working on a book of poems whose main character is called “the ex-nun.” To keep the poems from relying on autobiography, the figure isn’t always the same woman. Research on the history of female monasticism has afforded me the basis from which I’m comfortable revising history as mischief and artistic needs suggest. My prose book about being a nun was titled Motherhouse; the working title for this one is Otherhouse. The comic book series Warrior Nun inspired Jeanine’s poem “The Ex-nun, Phonics, and the Comic Book Boy,” featured in Image issue 32. The original series was created by Ben Dunn.
“When prose (creative nonfiction) seems the appropriate genre, I turn to a memoir, the setting of which Orleans, 1981, where without knowing French, my four-year-old daughter and I lived for a year. I was there on the pretext of studying Joan of Arc, my lifelong nemesis and patron saint.
“Such Old News, a collection of the meditative essays I write for The Wichita Times, is with my agent. This is a book I would not have written without the gift of a monthly deadline. I think the word should be “lifeline.”
“My first collection of poems, The Self as Constellation, has been awarded the 2001 Vassar Miller Prize and will be published in early 2002. Rejoice with me!”
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.