About Jessica

 Dear Reader,

Thank you for your interest in my work and for visiting this site.  I grew up in New York State and attended SUNY Binghamton, where I studied with the wonderful writers Heather McHugh, Milt Kessler, and Barry Targan.  After working briefly at a publishing company, I went to graduate school, earning an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where I studied with Dara Wier and James Tate.  I have published poetry in numerous journals, among them POETRY, The Texas Observer, Seneca Review, and Denver Quarterly.   My collection The History of a Voice was awarded the Baxter Hathaway Prize in Poetry from Epoch, and it was published by Headmistress Press.  My novel, From the Longing Orchard, received the Quill Prose Award from Red Hen Press.  In addition to those two books, I have written another poetry collection (as yet unpublished), and I am at work on a third book of poetry.   

I have taught for many years in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, most of those years at Slippery Rock University, where I currently teach in the Department of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Writing.  My primary courses are a first-year writing and a first-year reading course.  For all of its challenges, and there are many, teaching is an amazing profession.

I live in Indiana, Pennsylvania, where I am on the board of a non-profit, Friends of White’s Woods, working to protect a community woodland (www.friendsofwhiteswoods.org).  Among my passions are hiking in these woods, reading, playing basketball, and experimenting with vegetarian recipes.

Other areas of Interest

I serve on the board of a non-profit working to protect a community treasure, White’s Woods Nature Center.

The Old-Growth Forest Network is an amazing organization working to protect forests all over the country.

Living Lands & Waters is a 501 (c)(3) environmental organization that sponsors the Million Trees Project to give away trees.