Jessie Janeshek lives in the woods of West Virginia. Her full-length poetry collections are MADCAP (Stalking Horse Press, 2019), The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017), and Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). Her chapbooks include Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), Hardscape (Reality Beach, 2020) and Channel U (Grey Book Press, 2020). She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers with Jesse Graves.
Her work probes the connections among sex, power, and violence—frequently explored through the broken promise of Hollywood’s “golden age” and its shadow side film noir. She writes screwball tragicomedy driven by dark lipstick, sadness, time warps, pink pills, fur stoles, and fast-talking femme fatales. Using Buster Keaton’s quotation “Tragedy is a close up, comedy a long shot” as their organizing principle, the two sections of her latest full-length MADCAP—“The Close Up” and “The Long Shot”—fuse deadpan humor, beauty, danger, shame, and dread, layering personal nostalgia over cultural nostalgia as contemporary women channel dead actresses to face their own demons. She recently came across a David Bowie quotation (on Instagram, so definitely legitimate) that sums up her process well: “Anxiety and spiritual searching have been consistent themes with me, and that figures into my worldview. But I tend to make my songs sound like relationship songs.”
She likes cats, sleep, eating, exercising, listening to music, and playing her two vintage analog keyboards, usually badly. She watches movies fairly constantly and used to get flack for only viewing films made before 1950, but she’s expanded her range to anything made before 1980; it’s good to branch out. She also watches a lot of reality TV.
Her favorite writers include Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Stoddard, Simone Muench, and Michael Field. She in an associate professor of English at a small college so lately she’s been reading student papers, exams, and the literature she’s teaching as well as a lot of contemporary crime novels by British women writers including Ruth Ware, Cass Green, and Clare Mackintosh, because, during a pandemic, murder can be comforting.
Her website has links to buy all of her books and chapbooks: jessiejaneshek.net.
Some selected publications:
- “Faithless/Driven Slush” and “Loose Ankles/Star Faithless” in pioneertown
- “Novelette Solstice,” a collection of five poems in Tragickal
- Five poems in Big Other
- Three poems in Black Telephone Magazine