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Janine Canan Papers

Identifier: MsC0792

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of manuscripts, anthologized works, books, and literary correspondence. An addendum containing manuscripts was added in 2007.


  • Creation: 1960-2004


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

JANINE CANAN’s first book of poems, Of Your Seed, was published in 1977, thanks in part to the National Endowment for the Arts. Since that time, the poet has authored 18 books of poetry, translations, essays and stories.

In 1989, Canan edited the acclaimed anthology She Rises like the Sun: Invocations of the Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets, illustrated by Mayumi Oda. “One of the best books to come from the women’s spirituality movement” according to Booklist, it received the 1990 Koppelman Award. A decade later, Canan compiled the posthumous poems of avant-garde, anarcha-feminist contributor Lynn Lonidier in The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness.

Janine’s selected spiritual inspirations from the Indian humanitarian Mata Amritanandamayi, known and loved around the world as “the hugging saint,” is today published by Random House in the USA, as well as in Italy and India. Messages from Amma: In the Language of the Heart was a “Best Spiritual Book” and Kiriyami Prize nominee in 2004.

Canan’s widely praised translation of the Jewish German poet Else Lasker-Schüler (1868—1945), Star in My Forehead—an American Bookseller Association, City Lights Books and Small Press Review pick—appeared in 2000, and in 2009 some of her translations were set to music by American composer Richard Pearson Thomas. A translation by Canan of the contemporaneous French poet of the Pyrenees, Francis Jammes, appeared in Melbourne in 2010, in a volume entitled Under the Azure with a preface by the poet’s granddaughter. Australian singer Kavisha has composed songs to Canan’s translations.

Janine has published seven books of her own poetry, most recently Changing Woman (with three award-winning poems) in 2000 and In the Palace of Creation: Selected Works 1969—1999 (with artwork by Meagan Shapiro). The Columbian poet Manuel Cortés-Castañeda is translating into Spanish a collection of Canan’s poetry scheduled for publication in 2011.

Janine has also written a unique collection of stories, Journeys with Justine (including two Longstoryshort “Stories of the Month”), illustrated by Cristina Biaggi; a collection of cultural and autobiographical essays entitled Goddesses, Goddesses; and Walk Now in Beauty: The Legend of Changing Woman, with sand paintings by Ernest Posey, released in a second tri-lingual, English-Spanish-Japanese edition in 2010.

Over several decades, Canan’s work has appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including collections by Andrei Codrescu, June Cotner, Andrew Harvey, James Laughlin, and WeMoon. It received the Sacred Feminine Award in 2009. It has been praised in reviews in, American Jewish World, The Baltimore Sun, Booklist, Goddessing, Lilith Magazine, Samadhi Yoga, Spirituality and Health, Spirituality and Practice, Midwest Review of Books, Melbourne’s Readings Newsletter, San Francisco Review of Books and Women’s Review of Books.

Formerly poetry editor for Awakened Woman, Janine currently serves on the editorial board of Ochre: Journal of Women’s Spirituality. She has given countless readings, and occasional workshops, throughout the United States from Stanford to the Smithsonian, in France and Greece, on radio and television. Her works have been translated into Spanish, Italian, French, and Japanese. Her papers are housed in the University of Iowa’s Special Collections, and her books in the University of California at Berkeley Bancroft Collection.

Janine Canan resides in the Valley of the Moon in California, where she is a practicing psychiatrist. She graduated from Stanford University cum laude and from New York University School of Medicine. She is a passionate champion of women’s equality, and a devoted follower of Mata Amritanandamayi. For further information, please refer to External Documents to visit Janine Canan's webpage.

[Updated by Janine Canan December 2010.]


19.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Poet and editor. Books, manuscripts,clippings, correspondence.

Method of Acquisition

These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Janine Canan in January 2005 and ongoing.

Related Materials

The following books have been cataloged for the Libraries collections:

Of Your Seed (Oyez, 1977)

The Hunger (Oyez, 1979)

Who Buried the Breast of Dreams (Emily Dickinson Press, 1981)

Daughter (Emily Dickinson Press, 1981)

Shapes of Self (Emily Dickinson Press, 1982)

Her Magnificent Body: New & Selected Poems (ManRoot, 1986)

She Rises like the Sun: Invocations of the Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets (The Crossing, 1989). Main and Special Collections xPS595.G54S48 1989.

Fine China (Earth's Daughters, 1993)

Goddess Poems (Sagittarius Press), 1997

Love, Enter (Open Bone Press, 1998)

Changing Woman (Scars, 2000)

Star in My Forehead: Selected Poems by Else Lasker-Schueler (Holy Cow!, 2000). Main and Special Collections xPT2623.A76A23 2000.

The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness: Last Poems of Lynn Lonidier (Station Hill, 2000). Main and Special Collections xPS3562.O535R49 2001.

In the Palace of Creation: Selected Works 1969—1999 (Scars Publications, 2003)

Messages from Amma: In the Language of the Heart (Celestial Arts, 2004)

Fovever in Love (Andrews McMeel, 2006)

Goddesses, Goddesses (Regent Press, 2007)

Journeys With Justine (Regent Press, 2007)

Miracles of Motherhood (Center Street, 2007)

Oakland Out Loud (Jukebox Press, 2007)

Walk Now in Beauty (Regent Press, 2007)

Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)