Jessica Johnson is a 2009 Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient for the Womens Writers Fellowship. Her poems and reviews have appeared in The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, the Paris Review, Burnside Review, Subtropics, Kenyon Review Online and elsewhere. Her work can also be seen on Verse Daily. She lives in Portland.
Judge Joanna Klink had this to say about Jessica’s work:
“Johnson’s poems, full of quiet and gracious observation, are acts of kinship-in-strangeness with the natural world. They fathom the ocean (the sea is never far) and show a deep awareness of the body’s waves—everything that, washing up into the mind and drawing back, they leave exposed. Johnson awakens in us that blood harmony that moves through herring and jellyfish, light-keepers and families and landmasses, children who harbor inside their intuitive bodies entire “maps of depth.” Even the slightest creatures are alive with vision: barnacles, those “tiny onlookers,” are “both oculus and dome,” crickets “furious vibrations in the grass.” Drawing on her background in cell and molecular biology, Johnson listens to the world as it calls out steadily to us.”
We asked Jessica some questions:
What are you working on currently?
A book of poems and an essay or two.
Do you have a writing schedule?
Yes. I write for about 90 minutes very early on most weekday
mornings, then for most of one weekend day. If I don’t get a good
start before 7:00 a.m., it’s probably not going to happen.
What inspires you?
Aquariums; overheard phrases; outdated textbooks; hatcheries;mid-century Italian films; industrial artifacts; swimming; museums; stuff that washes up on beaches; uncluttered white formica; botanical gardens; anatomical drawings; art installations; my friends’ poems.
2019 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
April 22, 2019
Join Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in…
PDX JAZZ: The Resilience of Jazz
April 24, 2019
Join PDX Jazz for a lecture in their Discover Jazz series. The…
April 25, 2019
Celebrate Portland’s youth poets during our eighth annual Verselandia! poetry slam. Students…
One Page Wednesday
May 1, 2019
Writers, escape the solitude of your desk. Readers, come hear great fresh…
Oregon Book Awards Author Tour: Newport
May 5, 2019
An afternoon of reading and conversation with three Oregon Book Awards authors:…
Ooligan Press Writers of Color Spring Showcase
May 22, 2019
Literary Arts and Ooligan Press (part of Portland State’s graduate program in…