Meet Jane Seitel

the true nature of poetry. The drive to connect.
The Dream of a common language.

Adrienne Rich, “Origins and History of Consciousness”

jane 3

My story of coming to poetry is not so unusual; like many people, especially women, I started writing later in life. In my case I was fifty-six before I started writing poetry. I had enjoyed studying poetry as a college student, and continued to pick up a book every now and then. I had lived my life, raised two children, and worked in Expressive Art Therapy, using word, art, drama and movement. It was only after the death of a beloved pet that poetry started pouring out of me. But these poems, curiously, had nothing to do with that creature. They were lyric-narrative poems about children who came to America in the early twentieth century as immigrants. Writing these, I reconnected with a woman I had worked for in college but then lost track of until she suddenly reappeared on NPR speaking about her new book of poetry. I found her, showed her my poems, and she said, “Keep writing, and learn something about poetry.”

I had all along been doing something akin to poetry in my work as an Expressive Therapist. I was constantly amazed and affirmed each time I witnessed the creation of art, story, poetry, and how it affected new connections, within a person and between people. It is part of our nature as women to express our inner experience, both day to day struggles and lightning epiphanies. The dream of a common language that Rich writes about is in fact a reality. It is beyond the everyday dialogues, and in the case of poetry as art, is perfected through music, metaphor, imagery and story.

Poetry has changed my life in ways I never thought possible. It has engaged me with education, (MFA in Poetry, Drew University) and has awakened social involvement through my life with other writers and my work in the realm of ecology—animal, human, environmental. I have fulfilled life-long dreams, such as going to Italy. And going not just as a tourist but as poet, working with the Breadloaf community and studying with Edward Hirsch.

In establishing QuillsEdge Press I hope to reveal more of poetry of those who I consider “wisdom women.” Through this press I am hoping to present new and exciting voices and to provide a space for women to share our poetry with a supportive and welcoming audience. It is my hope that QuillsEdge can become a space where the poetry of women can shine, endure, find new connections.

Review of Speaking for Myself


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