A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Jessica Smith received her B.A. summa cum laude in English and Comparative Literature: Language Theory from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program, started the poetry magazine name, and won the Academy of American Poets Prize twice. After completing a Master’s in Comparative Literature with a thesis entitled “Sonic Territories: Deleuze and the Politics of Sound in Kafka and Duras” (directed by Henry Sussman), Jessica lived in Sweden, Germany and Austria. Jessica then resettled in Buffalo, a city Robert Creeley called “the last place you can be Bohemian,” to complete her Master of Library Science degree. For six years, she served as Head Librarian at Indian Springs School, where she ran the Indian Springs School Visiting Writers Series and taught literature, book arts, and creative writing workshops. She is now returning to school for her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Miami University while serving as a librarian for Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest and teaching at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Jessica is the author of two full-length print collections of poetry, Organic Furniture Cellar (Outside Voices/Bootstrap Productions 2006); and Life-List (Chax 2015). Her poetry and poetics have been published in 8poems, 17 seconds, The Acorn, aesthetix, American Weddings, Anomaly, Antennae, apocryphaltext, Area Sneaks, Big Game Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, The Buffalo News, Cannibal, The Chapbook Journal, Cordite Review, dANDelion, Dream Pop, Drill, Drunken Boat, ecopoetics, Ferrum Wheel, Filling Station, FOURSQUARE, Issue 1, Issue 2, ixnay, Jacket2, Kadar Koli, Knives Out, Ladowich, La Vague Journal, Literature Compass, Mantis, N/A, name, Newport Life, OEI (in Swedish), Open Letters Monthly, Opon, The Other Herald, Outlet, Phoebe, Pine Hills Review, Quarterly West, Queen Street Quarterly, Rock Heals, rout/e, The Rumpus, Serving Suggestion, Small Press Traffic, Small Town, speechless, sous les pavés, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Tarpaulin Sky, Touch the Donkey, Tupelo Quarterly, The Volta, WOMB, Word for/ Word, xtant, Zigest, and Zinhar (in Turkish), as well as in anthologies Z’l, Emerald Tablet, Face Time (Cy Gist Press) and A Sing Economy (Flim Forum). Her poetry and poetics have been translated into Turkish, Japanese, Swedish, Icelandic, Arabic and Danish.
Poetry chapbooks include bird-book (Blue Moon Press 2001, House Press 2002, Detumescence 2006), The Plasticity of Poetry and Telling Time (No Press 2006), Shifting Landscapes (above/ground press 2006), butterflies (Big Game Books 2006, e-book available at The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange), What the Fortune-Teller Said (a+bend press 2009, reprinted in The Chapbook Journal 2013), Articulating Space (Argotist Ebooks 2011), mnemotechnics (above/ground press 2013), Cicada Radio (Phafours Press 2014), Trauma Mouth (dusie 2015), Women in Visual Poetry (Essay Press 2015), Poems from The Daybooks (Mondo Bummer 2015), and The Lover is Absent (above/ground press 2017).
Her work has also been set to music and movement several times, most recently in the opera Ursularia by Nicholas DeMaison and previously in Terry Cuddy’s film Transient Views of Western New York and Brett Masteller and Chelsea Warren’s art, music and dance environment, musicartmovement. Her three-dimensional “poetry plastique” has been exhibited in Europe in shows like zaoem and infusoria.
Jessica is known as an editor for her work with name and the monthly women’s broadzine Foursquare, which was exhibited at Handmade/Homemade and WNYBAC’s “Wide Margins” zine exhibit. She is the editor of Outside Voices Press, publisher of Ric Royer‘s The Weather Not The Weather and Alixandra Bamford‘s Nearest the Mouth and an editor at Coven Press, publisher of Amish Trivedi‘s Sound/Chest. She has also guest edited for The Volta, JuJuBes, Both Both, and Essay Press.