National Award Winning Poet

 Janell Moon is the Poet Laureate of Emeryville, CA. She will be the media repesentative for the literary arts, will give and plan city readings, and will do various projects in the schools, senior centers, and the library.

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Riding Free in the Blue Studebaker (Main Street Rag)

Main Street Rag's National Poetry Contest 2007 Winner.

Janell Moon's collection of poetry travels across a broad landscape on fluid language and surprising combinations. From the how a mother provokes to the sweet memory of a forbidden nude nighttime swim, to the fantasy of wedding gone homoerotically awry, each poem is a piquant story seen through the window as the world flashes by. Moon's skill is evoking such a wide array of feelings--anxiety, desire, nostalgia, bemusement--it is our own lives flashing before us.
- Jewelle Gomez, The Gilda Stories

Janell Moon's poems are crammed with a lifetime of everyday yearning, secret little female intimacies and personal history that positively rumbles with quiet power. This poetry is alive and electric.
- Michelle Tea, Rose of No Man's Land

In these poems celebrating Janell Moon's brimming life, we meet many ordinary, unique, loved people: her grandma who makes corsets for movie starts (Judy Garland, Loretta Young), her sister dressed as her "favorite striped shorts" on the laundry line, Janell herself as a young girl who "held her silence," Janell as a wife whose "passion was covered with the heel of America's secrets." Because they detail the necessity of that secrecy, these poems are political as well as personal. They are lyrical and sweet--and honest. Though they chronicle her life, they succeed as poems, intense and spare, rich in their psychological understanding, not burdened with plodding analysis. I like a lot her found poem from a KQED broadcast. Janell Moon grabs poetry wherever she finds it.
- Phyllis Koestenbaum, Doris Day and Kitschy Melodies
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The Mouth of Home (Arctos Press)

"Janell Moon’s is an absolutely original voice. With wicked humor and a compassionate eye, Janell deftly tackles the conundrums of family, love, aging. She brings to her writing the raw, risky honesty that only a strong poet can. Roaming from her girlhood in a small Ohio town, to dreams after a friend’s suicide, to the tricky balance of adult life on a San Francisco hillside, she confronts the fractures of identity and how we make our place in the world. Irreverent, unflinching, personal and political, these poems will leave you wanting more from this fine poet."
-- Dorothy Wall, co-author of Finding Your Writer’s Voice



by Janell Moon


What Rages

Almost everything I know lifts itself up to light. That was the beginning of noticing my difference and my doubt.  I saw the vines race to the sun, families stay where they were planted winding themselves like beans around a stake. I watched kittens climb to rooftops for winter’s sun but my fascination was in the dark where sacks filled with greed and rage were stored.  My suffering began to ease when I opened the rain cellar door and let the living thing crawl out.

Language is

a rope of glass-delicate and dangerous-
I’m the new stranger in town,  flashes the wind’s skin.
I’m leaving, tosses the river of air echoing back

Think of it this way, words skid over the stillborn silence,
an arrow pierces the red morning
as the raven wakes free


the chars of the church
basement hosed down ash
police, red light
flashes round and round
scaring the kids
and congregation in a thin scarf
after a night of waking

red the vision so
wide an eye of hatred
Tennessee red
the night tree of burnt poetry

a bowl of grief
burrowing in the ragged curtain
anger and the cross smoldering
the nail held in a cup


Rain on the child’s cheek,
continued baptism
as he passes through
scratchy fields and tumbled hills.
Here he is enjoying his new
yellow umbrella and he strips
naked and paddles the gutters
to the ocean’s mouth. Before
he knows it, he is swept to the island
of strangers who lead him to
a table of fruit and fish.
When he looks at his feet,
he sees he is no longer a boy.
Open drawers hold new longings
and new appetites. A woman
standing nearby holds three choices:
finish the chapter, start a new story,
sit down at the table and eat.