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Definition: Jordan, June from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US poet and writer. She was influenced by mainstream poetry as well as by the Black arts movement of the 1970s. She also wrote books for children. She taught at many institutions, notably at State University of New York, Long Island in 1981.

Born in New York City, she studied at Barnard College, New York 1953–55, 1956–57, and at the University of Chicago 1955–56.


Summary Article: June Jordan (1936–2002)
from African American Almanac
Poet, Novelist

Born in Harlem, New York, on July 9, 1936, of parents from Jamaica, in the West Indies, June Jordan attended Barnard College and the University of Chicago. Jordan taught African American literature, English, and writing at several colleges and universities, and was co-founder and co-director of The Voice of the Children, Inc., a creative workshop. Her poems have been published in many magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. She received a Rockefeller grant in creative writing for 1969. Her books for children and young people include Fannie Lou Hamer (1972); His Own Where (1971), her first novel nominated for the National Book Award; Who Look at Me (1969); Dry Victories (1972); New Room, New Life (1974); and The Voice of the Children: Writings by Black and Puerto Rican Young People (1970, 1974), edited by Jordan and Terri Bush. Her books for adults include Soulscript (1970), edited by Jordan; Some Changes (1971); New Days: Poems of Exile and Return (1973); Things That I Do in the Dark: Selected Poems (1976); and Passion: New Poems, 1977-1980 (1980).

Jordon continued to create while diversifying her literary efforts by writing plays and various essays including, On Call: Political Essays (1985), Moving toward Home: Political Essays (1989), and her memoir, Soldier: A Poet's Childhood (2000). In 2001 Jordon was awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from the Poets & Writers organization. Jordan offered workshops for underserved communities and her unselfish contribution was the basis for the award. Jordan died of breast cancer on June 14, 2002, at her home in Berkeley, California.

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