Great Conversations, Greater Wasps ~ Jake Russell

About the Book:

A year ago, I sent Jake Russell a poem of mine for review, and he did something he had not done previously. He responded with a poem: “Sans Ephesus” or “a poem critiquing your poem,” as he described it – a conversation. One brief passage from “Sans Ephesus” is transparent to this origin: the narrator describes how “two men chronicle the same / event, return with diff’rent manuscripts.” I imagine Horace Smith after writing “On a Stupendous Leg of Granite…” and then scanning the text of Shelley’s “Ozymandias” for the first time; Jake had written a twisted yet resonant reflection of my experience. Shelley writes, in his “Defense of Poetry,” that “Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.” But Jake’s poetry is not mere reflection. Each poem is a filter that at times reverses the process Shelley describes, distorting the inherent beauty in an image. While it is impossible to sum Jake’s process or style (he is one of the most prolific and diverse writers I know), to consider this balance of distortion and beauty is, perhaps, an adequate entry into this excellent first collection of poetry. -Joey Lemon, third-year poetry student at Wichita State University, lead singer of Chicago-based band, Berry

About the Author:

Jake Russell has published in Emerge Literary Journal, Open Window Review and The Weekenders Magazine. He has also published fiction in Bellows American Review and is slated for Moon Hollow Press. He is currently a Master of Fine Arts student at Wichita State University, studying poetry and a reader for The Literary Underground, Mojo and Mikrokosmos.