Bio, Profiles, Press, Contact

Smyth FLP TQ headshot 2012

Short bio (100 words)

Jessamyn Smyth’s poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Taos Review, Red Rock Review, American Letters and Commentary, Nth Position, Life & Legends, Wingbeats: Exercises and Practices in Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her books The Inugami Mochi (2016) and Gilgamesh/Wilderness (forthcoming 2019/2020) are from Saddle Road Press. She has received honorable mention in Best American Short Stories (2006), and is the recipient of fellowships, scholarships, and grants from the Robert Francis Foundation, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and others. Jessamyn was the founding Editor in Chief of Tupelo Quarterly, and Founder/Director of the Quest Writer’s Conference.

Longer bio (417 words)

Jessamyn Smyth’s poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Taos Review, Red Rock Review, American Letters and Commentary, Nth Position, Life & Legends, Wingbeats: Exercises and Practices in Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her books The Inugami Mochi (2016) and Gilgamesh/Wilderness (forthcoming 2020) are from Saddle Road Press, and she is the author of Kitsune (New Women’s Voices Series winner from Finishing Line Press in 2013). Her short story “A More Perfect Union” from American Letters and Commentary Issue 17 was selected as one of the “100 Distinguished Stories of 2005” by Best American Short Stories (2006), many of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she has been the recipient of fellowships, scholarships, and grants from the Robert Francis Foundation, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Welcome Hill Writer’s Colony, The Vermont Community Foundation, and others.

Jessamyn received her MFA in Poetry, Prose, and Playwriting from Goddard College. As a non-traditional student (starting college at 15), she did her undergraduate triple major in Classics, Comparative Religion, and Holocaust Studies in the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) program at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She wrote her Honors thesis Learning Witness: A History of the Jews of Salonica after an immersive year of primary research in northern Greece. In addition to her academic training, Jessamyn has been a community educator and crisis counselor working toward public health and violence prevention since 1997, directing and building student-led violence prevention and social justice programs training police, faith community leaders, and students of all ages in anti-oppression strategies. She has also worked extensively in domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, HIV prevention programs, and most recently, as a disability rights advocate.

She teaches at Bard College’s Holyoke Massachusetts micro-campus for women with children, and has been visiting faculty at Middlebury College, The University of Massachusetts’ Commonwealth College, The University of Pennsylvania’s Writer’s Conference, Quest University in Canada, and several other schools throughout New England. She was the creator and founding Editor in Chief of the literary journal Tupelo Quarterly, and Founder/Director of the Quest Writer’s Conference featuring Joy Harjo, Rebecca Brown, Oliver de la Paz, Gregory Orr, and Alicia Ostriker. Jessamyn has recently begun to incorporate multi-media art into her work, and is particularly interested in writing and visual art that explores the boundaries between forms and identities. Uncovering and nurturing the critical mind and the creative voice—in all their unpredictable and diverse expressions—is her mission as a professor and a human.

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A new interview, in the January 2016 issue of American Microreviews and Interviews:

On wilderness as map and the cartography of grief, vulnerability as strength, non-human-centered relationships, hybridity of form, and much else, in conversation with the wonderful Melissa Studdard.

“We know, on some level, that in order for there to be substantive transformation, some kind of profound boundary-crossing must happen. Those crossings cost a lot.”

Enjoy!

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You can read a Tupelo Press profile of Jessamyn by Eric Darton here.

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You can read an arts profile of Jessamyn in the Squamish Chief here. Photograph by Rebecca Aldous.

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Headshots, for press:

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Web sized portrait by Waldemar Zagorski Photography (please credit)

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Full size portrait by Waldemar Zagorski Photography (please credit)

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You may also feel free to use other photos of Jessamyn from this site, citing “by author permission.”

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Contact for readings, classroom visits, Q & A’s, library and book club visits, by Skype or otherwise:

jessamynjsmyth at gmail dot com

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