About Jill

Jill Alexander Essbaum - flyer photoJill Alexander Essbaum is an award-winning poet whose work has been described as “John Donne in sexy underwear” and “a cross between Dorothy Parker and a lap dance.” Her first book, Heaven, won the 1999 Bakeless prize and she has published two additional full-length collections–Harlot, a collection centered around the themes of sexuality, heartbreak, and penitence, and Necropolis, a meditation on the death of her parents.  Her most recent publication is a single-poem chapbook, The Devastation.
Known for her wordplay and puns, Essbaum always provides an interesting and entertaining read.  About Essbaum, critic G.M. Palmer has written, “No poet today dares play with such spiritual fire like Jill Alexander Essbaum dares.  Her poems skirt the edge of blasphemy and pray for re-readings and a spiritual embrace.  Dancing on the edge of her words one finds despair and salvation, often in the same word.”

A former National Endowment for the Arts literature fellow, Jill’s poetry has appeared in dozens of national journals including Poetry, Image, The Christian Century, Gulf Coast, No Tell Motel, Barrelhouse and many others.  Her work has been included in the anthology The Best American Erotic Poems 1800-Present, the 2010 edition of The Best American Poetry, and it will be included in the 2011 edition of The Best American Poetry.

Jill has taught at Concordia Austin, The University of Texas, and currently, she is an instructor in University of California, Riverside’s low-residency MFA program.  She is an editor for the online poetry journal Anti- and the print journal The National Poetry Review. She has given readings and lectures across the country and she is the 2011 Lutheran Writers Tour author.

Jill is available for readings, workshops, chapel talks, sermons, symposiums, panels, discussions and classroom visits.  She is presently at work on a new book of poetry, a novel, and a joke book.

Jill lives in Austin, Texas.  In addition to writing, her interests and expertise include Jungian psychoanalysis, modern and contemporary American Christianity, French and German language and literature, Old Time Radio, puns and joke-telling, and true crime.

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