brass tacks

Hi.  My name is Jessica Jewell.  I’m an American poet and English Instructor currently living in Budapest, the European city of cities.  And yes, the legend is true:  there are TWO Ikeas here mere kilometers apart.

Though an Ohio native, I received my BA from Indiana University, after which I returned to the city by the great inland sea to get my MFA from Kent State University (NEOMFA).

While there I was the Wick Poetry Fellow, met some amazing personal heroes such as Jean Valentine and Phillip Levine, wrote a book about the American Dust Bowl, and once ate an entire Sam’s Club sized bloc of Jarlsburg cheese with Lindsay Bennett.

My poetry has appeared in journals such as Nimrod, Harpur Palate, Rhino, Poetry Midwest, Barn Owl Review, Poems & Plays, Touchstone, Angle Magazine, among others.  I’ve been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, won a few other things, but still haven’t figured out how to revise a poem without a nice glass of wine (it’s the fancy gene, I suppose).

I’m currently writing about Tombstone and in an attempt to reconnect to my roots, have moved to Hungary to teach and write and blurb.  So far I’ve consumed about 235 loaves of bread and 110 rounds of cheese, but have yet to discover the European woman’s secret to thinness.

For those of you who have followed me over from Penzilla, I thank you.  And my mother thanks you and told me she loves your new shoes.

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17 thoughts on “brass tacks

  1. Mary just passed your blog addy along to me today and all I can say is and “Whew!” The next best thing to being there is having you document it. Keep writng, Jess! I want to see all the photos, too, when you get home!

  2. Hey Jana! Thanks for stopping by. It’s so nice to see familiar words all the way from Ohio 🙂 And yes, thank God for the digital age, because with the amount of pictures I’ve taken could already fill an entire Airbus! Tell everyone hello for me.

  3. Hi, Jessica. I found your blog from Sara Tracey’s blogroll. Hope you have a nice time in Hungary–where/what are you teaching? If you need a translator, I’m happy to offer my services. It’s a great language and a wonderful country. Minden jot neked! 🙂

    Peter

    • Hi Peter. I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment earlier and didn’t reply (almost two years eeek!!). Anyway thank you for your nice offer. Do you live in Budapest? Thank you for your comment and I hope you are well. Cheers 🙂

  4. Hi Jessica,
    Found your blog only this morning in search for some subjective view on Hungary and Hungarians for my Irish friend Angelena.
    Loving the blog and the sweet Barnabas of course.
    Jo blogolast es szep napot!
    Viri

    • Hi Viri– Thank you so much for your comment and for visiting my blog. 🙂 Barnabas also thanks you (he’s the real star, after all!) I’m practicing my Hungarian so I will try to use it by reading your blog! I’ve only been to Dublin once, but it seems great. Thanks again for visiting! Cheers 🙂

  5. Hi Jess,

    That is so nice to hear. I’m really excited any time I learn someone is learning Hungarian as it is so rear.
    I hope you are getting on well with that project. Sending you all my positive thoughts to remember the right suffixes :O).
    Especially for the sake of Hungarian poetry and fiction :O))).While I was reading your introduction
    I couldn’t help but wonder if an American poet reads poetry herself?
    Please give my best wishes and a big leprechaun kiss to Barni.

    Viri

    • Oh yes. I think that all poets have to read poetry or other writing in order to grow as a writer. I read whatever I can find in English, and as many English-translation of Hungarian I can find. I absolutely adore Szabó Magda. THE DOOR was magnificent and dark and absolutely enthralling. I just wish there were more translators of Hungarian writers into English. 🙂 So– I have to do a little work!

      I gave Barnsie a HUGE leprechaun kiss. He is now spoiled in all areas 🙂

      Cheers 🙂

  6. Hi Jess,

    What a delight to my morning! I am so looking forward to those translations.
    I always respected people who are good in that. I find it such a precious delicate art.
    I have to say that I love my Hungarians but also love Southern Gothics. I fell in love with To Kill a Mockingbird two weeks ago, again. I wish I could hear the southern accent better in my head.I love learning all kinds of accents but somehow it is really hard to get this one right.

    I hope Barnsie will not ” belezoldul” in his state of spoiled. I rather have him in the duck suit and that speck of sarcasm in his eyes. Very Hungarian.

    Viri

    • Hi Viri! I don’t know why I didn’t see your comment early, but thanks for stopping by. Even though I do adore the Hungarian lits., nothing will replace the Southern Gothic! In ten years, nothing has held quite as much capture over me as Flanner O’Connor.

      I will pass along your message to Barnsie. Though he only understands English these days, I do think his mood is entirely Magyar!

      • NP. Still loving the blog! My latest favorite was the review on the Hungarian flavors in McD!! I would love to see more photos of Barnsie as lately I kind of feel that he was a bit neglected in the posts.:O))))
        Have a lovely day !

        PS:I only know A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories from Flanner. I think I will read the stories again very soon :O).

  7. Hi Jessica
    Had lunch with Susan Kirksey today and was updated on the Jewell’s. The pics are beautiful.
    Looks like everyone is having a lot of fun.
    Make sure your mom vists the David statue in Florence.
    She’ll like him.
    Vincetta

  8. Hi Vincetta: You will appreciate this–I am typing on a Hungarian keyboard some of the letters are switched.

    We just got back from Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. Words can’t describe the beauty. and we certainly loved the David.

    I’m sure Jessica will have more pics up next week there are so many. Much more later

    Mary

  9. Hi Vincetta,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! Florence was amazing. I think I’m still processing everything that we saw and did in just a few days. It was my second time in the cities, but first time as an adult, and I have to say that it gets better with age!

    We took an private guided tour that focused on art and architecture and it was fantastic to learn about Michaelangelo, the David, and so many more of the artistic details. What a fantastically rich city in every way!

    Cheers 🙂

  10. What a delight to my morning! I am so looking forward to those translations.I always respected people who are good in that. I find it such a precious delicate art.I have to say that I love my Hungarians but also love Southern Gothics. I fell in love with To Kill a Mockingbird two weeks ago, again. I wish I could hear the southern accent better in my head.I love learning all kinds of accents but somehow it is really hard to get this one right.
    +1

  11. Hello! I’m also an Ohio native (with a B.S. from Kent!) currently living in Hungary. I’m in a small town in the east, Mateszalka, teaching English at the primary school here.

    • Hi Sarah! What a small world! I’m currently at Kent State working on my PhD. I hope that you’re enjoying Hungary. I lived in Budapest for a time, and then also Szeged. I didn’t teach much because I worked for a private American company (and also for myself!) but I just adored Hungary and really miss it every day since being back in the States.

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