Janet Boyer


Dan O'Brian

Janine Canan  Introduction to the Poet

To Life

Dear Life, oh dearest

come with me wherever I go,

even when I drop

this fading body, come

oh beautiful Life, and keep on

coming, flowing, streaming,

dreaming fearless, loving, wanting,

sweet Life, with your magic

dance of miracles

and juggling balls of light,

your supreme womanly form

laughing down the cosmos,

your myriad jokes and jewels and truths,

your pure happy Self

that ensouls the universe.

Come my Love and always be

and never leave, beloved Life.

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—a Booksense, 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 ten books of her own poetry, most recently Ardor: Poems of Life, and Changing Woman (with three award-winning poems). The Columbian poet Manuel Cortés-Castañeda has translated into Spanish a collection of Canan’s poetry.

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 been appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies. She has given countless readings, and occasional workshops, throughout the United States from Stanford to the Smithsonian, and in Europe, on radio and television. Her papers are housed in the University of Iowa’s Special Collections.

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.