P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Janine Joseph, 2009

Associate Professor, Virginia Tech

Janine Joseph is an immigrant from Philippines

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Creative Writing at University of Houston

Born in the Philippines, Janine Joseph arrived at the age of eight and lived undocumented in the U.S. for fifteen years. Her vocation as a writer, scholar, and librettist is deeply informed by this formative experience. 

Her poetry collections include Decade of the Brain: Poems (2023) and Driving Without a License (2016), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize and finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. Composed of linked poems that follow an immigrant from the Philippines living in America without proper legal documentation, Driving Without a License received overwhelmingly positive press in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, American Microreviews and Interviews, Kenyon Review, and Rain Taxi, as well as an extended profile by poet and critic Stephanie Burt in The Los Angeles Times. Individual poems were further anthologized in Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology, Border Lines: Poems of Migration, and Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience. Decade of the Brain, which extends the first book’s themes and follows a newly naturalized American citizen who suffers from post-concussive memory loss, has likewise garnered praise and reviews in the New York Times, New York Journal of Books, Ms. Magazine, Shelf Awareness (starred review), VerseCurious Podcast, The Georgia Review, Water-Stone Review, Poets & Writers, Book Riot, and Harriet Books, among others. 

Janine is also co-editor of Here to Stay: Poetry and Prose from the Undocumented Diaspora, an anthology of poetry and poetics forthcoming from HarperCollins. Since 2016, she has organized for Undocupoets, a nonprofit literary organization that supports and advocates for poets who are currently or who were formally undocumented in the U.S. In 2021, their work was celebrated in the children’s book, In the Spirit of a Dream: 13 Stories of American Immigrants of Color.

Her commissioned works for Symphony New Hampshire, Washington Master Chorale, and Houston Grand Opera include Extraordinary Motion: Concerto for Electric Harp, The Art of Our Healers, What Wings They Were, ‘On This Muddy Water’: Songs from the Houston Ship Channel, and From My Mother’s Mother

Janine earned her AA from Riverside City College, BA from the University of California, Riverside, MFA from New York University, and PhD from the University of Houston, where she was the recipient of a Dissertation Completion Fellowship. 

Trained as a teaching artist through the Community-Word Project in NYC, she has taught poetry in public schools, art museums, arboretums, public libraries and parks for Writers in the Schools, the Starworks Fellowship Program, and the Gluck Fellows Program for the Arts. She has also taught creative writing, literature, and composition at New York University, University of Houston, Weber State University, and Oklahoma State University. Her teaching recognitions include a 2020 English Graduate Student Association Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award from Oklahoma State University and a 2013 Robert M. Hogge Faculty Teaching Award from Weber State University. 

A MacDowell Fellow and Public Voices Fellow of The OpEd Project, Janine is an associate professor of Creative Writing at Virginia Tech, where she previously served as the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Scholar. 

For more information please visit: http://www.janinejoseph.com/

  • PhD Creative Writing | University of Houston 2013
  • MFA Creative Writing | New York University (NYU) 2007
  • BA Creative Writing, English | University of California, Riverside 2005
  • AA General Education | Riverside City College 2003
Select Publications
  • Driving Without a License (poetry): Alice James Books, 2016
Work History
  • Virginia Tech, Associate Professor
  • Virginia Tech, Dean's Distinguished Visiting Scholar
  • Oklahoma State University, Associate Professor
  • Weber State University, Assistant Professor
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