Jane Olmsted has released her latest poetry collection, “Seeking the Other Side.”
Dr. Olmsted is head of Diversity & Community Studies, professor and director of the Gender & Women’s Studies Program and coordinator of the Social Responsibility & Sustainable Communities master’s program at WKU.
“I call this collection ‘Seeking the Other Side’ as a way to honor the capacity to reach across boundaries to connect in some way with the other,” Dr. Olmsted said. “I wanted the title to evoke that action of reaching across some divide. ‘The other side’ may refer to the line between life and death, between individuals, between parts of the self, like the lonely and the social selves, or between the self before and after some cataclysm.”
The collection was published by Fleur-de-Lis Press in Louisville.
“Never have words made pain more real nor death more absurd than in these existential, mystical poems by Jane Olmsted,” Sena Jeter Naslund, editor of Fluer-de-Les Press, said. “This word will shine when all our eyes are closed because that is what happens when language arrives at truth. These poems are rare and true and beautiful.”
Dr. Olmsted said the poetry is divided into three sections.
“The first, ‘Ways of Touching,’ includes a range of poems that attend in some way with the sensual—seeing, hearing, touching—as a way of discovering some truth. Poems include a fantasy or two and explore the dream world, growing up and family,” she said. “The second section, ‘Tree Forms,’ is a series of poems inspired initially by trees I saw in the Rocky Mountains, but coming home to Kentucky as well. I either adopt the persona of the given tree or let it inspire something a little closer to my life here in Bowling Green. The final section, ‘The Casey Poems,’ are about the death of our youngest son when he was 20 in 2009. Thus, the bulk of the collection deals in some way with death, mystery, grief, loss and healing.”
The cover features a painting by Yvonne Petkus, a WKU art professor, titled “Braced.”
Dr. Olmsted’spoems and stories have appeared in Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Adirondack Review, and Briar Cliff Review, among others. Her chapbook, Tree Forms, was published in 2011 (Finishing Line Press). Her essay, “The Weight of a Human Heart,” won Memoir Journal’s prize for the guns issue, fall 2013.
Contact: Jane Olmsted, (270) 745-5787