Jessamyn Smyth is a naturalist writer of poetry, prose, fiction, plays, and blurs between forms. She’s happiest when writing at crossroads.
She is currently working on editing InvisAbilities: writers on living with invisible disabilities (forthcoming!). Also in the works: Inside Out: writers making flash/prose poetry at the intersection of the inner and outer worlds – in 300 words or less.
She was Interview Editor for the inaugural issue of Oscillation Poetry Magazine (a lovely conversation with Maxine Kumin – forthcoming), and may do more of this sort of thing, as she enjoys it.
Her short story “A More Perfect Union” in American Letters and Commentary Issue 17 (November 2005) won listing as one of the “100 Distinguished Stories of 2005″ in Best American Short Stories (2006) and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her poem “Letting Go of a Man at the Montague Book Mill” was also recently Pushcart nominated. She has recently completed a collection called What The Forest Said and a chapbook called Kitsune, and is working on several other books.
Kitsune recently won publication in the New Women’s Voices Series from Finishing Line Press. You can order it here. (Advance sales: February-March 2013 ~ release: May 31, 2013.)
Her poetry, short stories, and prose appear in various print and electronic journals and anthologies, including Red Rock Review, Nth Position, Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry, Cezanne’s Carrot, MiCrow/Full of Crow, Abalone Moon, Qarrtsiluni, The Montucky Review, Meat for Tea, SNReview, The Women’s Times Fiction Issue, and For Here or To Go: Stories From The Service Industry.
She is the past producer of Naked Theater Northampton, for which she also wrote and directed, and is executive director of Basilisk, an only partly-imaginary production company creating occasional performance of theater, poetry, and music as inspired. So far, Basilisk has arisen in Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont, but it could happen anywhere, any time.
Jessamyn’s plays for community theater (“Main Street Love Song,” “Wolves,” “Wake,” “Paper Moon,” “The Importance of Being Wild,” “Jenny Haniver,” and “Hedda Gabler Has Left The Building”) have been produced by Naked Theater, The Paul Alexander Gallery, The Country Players, The Shea Theater, and Arena Civic Theater. Jessamyn also directs other people’s plays from time to time, works as a dramaturge, and is committed to nurturing and supporting local performance by local artists in non-traditional venues.
She continues her long involvement in work for social justice, violence prevention and community health, and has taught literature, composition, theater for social justice and creative writing at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst in The Commonwealth College, Middlebury College, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Massachusetts, Keene State College, Greenfield Community College, and in the community.
Jessamyn has been honored by several grants including recognition from The Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference (2004), The Vermont Community Foundation (2007), and a Welcome Hill Fellowship (2011). She earned her MFA in Writing at Goddard College.