About

TO CONTACT: Please email me at jenniferbullis (at) comcast (dot) net.

ARTIST STATEMENT:

Much of my writing is driven by various versions of the question, “Given the options, why would I choose to believe in a God who behaves like that?” Specifically, I’m disturbed by the narratives of human sacrifice (near and actual) at the heart of Judaism and Christianity; I’ve blogged about this issue here, here, and here. These troubling stories compel my research into the theological rationales behind various cultures’ practices–as depicted in mythology and anthropology–of religious sacrifice. In a biological context, I’m baffled by the necessity for loss of life underpinning predator-prey relationships, and more broadly, by the fact that since all living organisms serve as food for others, all life participates in an economy based on death. In my poems and essays, I strive to reconcile these philosophical problems with my positive experiences–brief though they have been–of feeling loved and guided by a God who did seem to care about suffering, well-being, and joy.

My current full-length poetry manuscript, provisionally titled “Nearly on Fire,” carries forward these preoccupations. Here, I use mythological and invented personae to engage themes of ecology, art, and the possibilities for faith. In some poems, I create voices for women who were not granted speaking roles in sacred texts; other poems interact with sites of environmental damage, both to pay witness to destruction and to imagine how beauty and vitality might regenerate. A third category of poems enacts my exchanges with a fictional character named Amanda Bubble–a younger, edgier, alternate version of myself–who is laboring to mature past her sense of abandonment and construct a more hopeful, trusting self. Underlying all the poems is an assertion of the redemptive power of creative activity.

BIO

Originally from Reno, Nevada, I earned a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of California, Davis, and taught full time at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, for 10 years. Currently, I write, read, hike, and try to keep up with our ten-year-old. I’m also trying, sporadically, to learn how to paint.

If you’d like the really gritty details, here’s my curriculum vitae:


EDUCATION

B.A. Claremont McKenna College, 1988, History and Literature
M.A. University of California, Davis, 1990, English
Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1995, English. Dissertation: “Wisely Armed:  Self and Satire in the Novels of Dawn Powell, Mary McCarthy, and Muriel Spark.” Director:  Sandra M. Gilbert


POEMS PUBLISHED IN JOURNALS AND ANTHOLOGIES

“A Dream, A Bird,” Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems 7.2, Winter 2004

“After Haying Time,” Saturday Poets: An Anthology, 2003

“Amanda Bubble Crafts a New Creation Story,” Bellingham Review, No. 61, Fall 2015

“Amanda Bubble Drafts a Letter Resigning Her Church Membership,” Clover: A Literary Rag, No. 6, 2013

“Amanda Bubble Is Always Revising Her Credo,” Floating Bridge Review No. 6, 2013

“Amanda Bubble Mythologizes Her Family of Origin,” Clover: A Literary Rag, No. 7, 2014

“Amanda Bubble Reflects on Narcissus,” Illuminations No. 29, Summer 2013

“Amanda Bubble Senses Her Muse Approaching,” Clover: A Literary Rag, No. 6, 2013

“Amanda Bubble Sings a Water Song,” Floating Bridge Review No. 7, 2014

Amanda Bubble Worries About the Food Chain,” Wherewithal 1.1, Nov. 2014

“Aphrodite Schools Amanda Bubble,” Clover: A Literary Rag, No. 6, 2013

Ars Poetica,” Iron Horse Literary Review 14.3, 2012

“Ascent,” Crosscurrents, Fall 2005; Pontoon: An Anthology of Washington State Poets  No. 8, 2005

“At Mt. Baker, October,” Cirque 5.1, Winter 2013

“Basal Cell Carcinoma,” The Comstock Review 22.1, Spring/Summer 2008

“Below Laughing Falls:  Little Yoho River, British Columbia,” Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems 7.2, Winter 2004

“Body, Blood:  After Andrew Hudgins,” Pontoon: An Anthology of Washington State Poets  No. 10, 2008

“Climate Change,” Crosscurrents, Fall 2005

“Close,” Kahini Magazine (formerly Conversations Across Borders), 2012

“Day After Thanksgiving,” Cascadia Review, April 2013

“Descent,” Crosscurrents, Fall 2005

“Directions to Pt. Rupture,” winner of The Pitch contest, Poetry Northwest, November 2011

“‘Don’t You Just Love Being a Mother?’” Pontoon: An Anthology of Washington State Poets  No. 10, 2008

“Echolocating,” Crosscurrents, Fall 2000

“Exit Strategy,” Umbrella, Summer 2009

For JB, in the Sixth Month,” Umbrella, Winter 2008

“Hide and Seek,” Crux 45.3, Fall 2009

“Getting Ready,” Rock & Sling 4.2, Winter 2007

“Hearing Bluegrass,” Clover: A Literary Rag No. 7, 2014

“In That Time of Skiing I Was Always Wrong,” Cider Press Review, Vol. 18.1 18.1, January 2016

“Lesson Horse,” Crosscurrents, Fall 2005; Floating Bridge Review, Fall 2009

“Mapping the Room: For Lydia McCauley,” Crosscurrents, Fall 2009

“Mary Instructs Leonardo da Vinci as He Begins Painting The Annunciation,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 30.2, 2014

“Mnemonic,” Illuminations No. 29, Summer 2013

“My Neighbor,” Floating Bridge Review, Fall 2010

Nevada Rain,” Kahini Magazine (formerly Conversations Across Borders), 2012

O Magnum Mysterium (from the Christmas Vespers),” Crux 38.4, Dec. 2002

“One Way,” Cascadia Review, April 2013

“Placebo Effect,” Umbrella, Summer 2009

“She Replies to the Alumni Coordinator of the Conservative Christian College Where She Took a Summer Art Class in 1997,” Tahoma Literary Review 1.2, Dec. 2014

“Some Friend,” Iron Horse Literary Review 14.3, 2012

“Some of What I Am About To Tell You Is True,” Natural Bridge, Spring 2010

“Start What You Finish,” Floating Bridge Review No. 5, 2012

“Strange Accounting,” Rock & Sling 4.2, Winter 2007

“Strange Bird,” Cascadia Review, April 2013

“Ten Great Gifts for the Woman Who Has Nothing” in Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington. Bellingham: Other Mind Press, 2015.

“Thus the World,” Clover: A Literary Rag No. 4, 2012

“Waiting for April,” Egg Poetry, Dec. 2013

“Went Hiking,” Cascadia Review, April 2013

“What Is Nature?  October, Guemes Island,” Sqajet 4.1, 2004-5

“What Was Good About Going to Church,” Pontoon 2015, Floating Bridge Press

“Winnie Confesses to Some Confusion,” Floating Bridge Review No. 4, 2011

Year of the Rattle,” Honorable Mention, Tupelo Press Poetry Project, Spring 2011

TEACHING

Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA (1995-2005, Tenure-Track and Tenured; 2006-2009, Adjunct)
Courses Taught: American Literature, Introduction to Literature, Introduction to Poetry, Writing about Literature, Reading and Writing Nature Poetry (Honors Seminar), First-Year English Composition, Intermediate Composition, Advanced Composition

University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, 1994-1995 (Adjunct)
First-Year English Composition

University of California, Davis, 1988-1993 (Graduate Fellow)
Basic Writing, First-Year English Composition, Writing about Literature

HONORS AND AWARDS

Mentee, AWP Writer to Writer Program, Spring 2015. Mentor: Allen Braden

Doug and Ann Johnson Scholarship, Writer Island weekend workshop, Artsmith, Orcas Island, WA, February 2015

Finalist, 2014 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award, for manuscript titled “Amanda Bubble Is Nearly on Fire”

Finalist, 2012 Snowbound Chapbook Award, Tupelo Press, for manuscript titled “Myths of Origin, Falling Away” (http://www.tupelopress.org/prizewinners2012.php)

Honorable Mention, Tupelo Press Poetry Project, Spring 2011 for poem titled “Year of the Rattle”

Winner, The Pitch Contest, Poetry Northwest, November 2011

Finalist, 2007 Snowbound Chapbook Award, Tupelo Press, for manuscript titled “About the Food Chain, and Other Pointed Questions for the Deity” (http://www.tupelopress.org/prizewinners2007.php)

Semi-Finalist, 2007 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, for manuscript titled “Post-”

Exemplary Status Award (co-recipient), Washington State Community College Humanities Association, October 2005

Sabbatical Leave, Whatcom Community College Board of Trustees, Fall 2004

Puget Sound Energy Faculty Excellence Award, Whatcom Community College, 2003

Sabbatical Leave, Whatcom Community College Board of Trustees, Spring 2002

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7 comments on “About

  1. Pat O'Bannon says:

    Jennifer,

    I was trying to find a way to get in touch with you and found your website. First, I wanted catch up and see how you, Mark and your son are doing. Second, I have a friend from high school who lives near Monroe who is a poet at heart and is looking at some grad school programs. I was thinking you could provide a some insight for her into the literary grad school world … and maybe meet a kindred poetic soul in the area. Hopefully the email address entered below will get to you. I would love to catch up.

    Thanks,
    Pat

  2. Jennifer, your curriculum vitae is most impressive. I am looking forward to reading more and more of your poems and more of your work.

    Sincerely, and best wishes to you and yours, Andy

  3. Very interested , so I nominate you for the One Lovely Blog Award .

  4. Marci Ameluxen says:

    Hi Jennifer, email me about connecting on readings together, my chapbook is also coming out from MoonPath Press in April and Lana suggested I talk to you!

  5. Elijah Moore says:

    Hi Jennifer, I used to be a student of yours. You may remember. It was maybe 2001? I really appreciated your mentorship and felt like I learned a lot in your class. I remember you as a very respectful person and I always felt like you listened carefully to what I said. Thanks! I’m excited to see that you are a poet, I may have known that, but it’s been so long, it slipped my mind. I’m excited to look into your work.
    I am writing because I had a dream about WCC last night and was walking around the campus looking for your office to say hi. I was also looking for another faculty’s office too, but I can’t remember his name. He taught film studies I believe. Anyway, I hope you are well. I have been living between Olympia and Whidbey Island for the last 10 years (!). My wife and I have a band called LAKE that has had some success, and we are currently able to eek out a meager living from music (licensing songs for TV, touring, etc.). http://www.laketheband.com
    I would love to touch base someday. Do you still teach at Whatcom?
    Talk to you soon.

    • Thank you for getting in touch, Eli! It’s great to hear what you’ve been up to. I’ve been away from WCC for the past four years, writing and raising a son. In the coming months, I’m hoping to schedule readings from my new book on Whidbey and in Olympia; it would be great to meet up! I’d enjoy meeting your wife and hearing about your band. All the best to you!

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