Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jessica Lee Walsh  

Pen Name: Jessica L. Walsh

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1974 in Ludington, Michigan

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Illinois Connection

Walsh moved to Illinois in 2001 while finishing her graduate studies and teaching at North Central College. After taking her current teaching position at Harper College in 2002, she moved from Chicago to the northwest suburbs.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jessica Walsh is a Professor of English at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. She received her BA from Kalamazoo College and her PhD in literature at the University of Iowa. Much of her poetry calls on images and themes of the Midwest, while some explores the crush of urban living from the vantage of a small town native. Her poems have appeared in many journals including ''RHINO'', ''In Posse Review'', ''Crab Creek Review'', ''The Catalonian Review'', ''Red River Review'', ''Midwestern Gothic'' and ''Ninth Letter'' online. She has written two chapbooks, ''Knocked Around'' and ''The Division of Standards''. ''How to Break My Neck'' is her first full-length collection.She was a featured poetry blogger at the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in 2014. Her poetry has been nominated by editors for the Pushcart Prize.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Division of Standards
ISBN: 1622290461

Finishing Line Press. 2012

A Poetry Chapbook

How to Break My Neck
ISBN: 1942004206

ELJ Editions. 2015

Poetry. The poems in Jessica Walsh's HOW TO BREAK MY NECK are alive, visceral, and softly twitching. Each section beginning with different famous last words, these poems interrogate hard-hitting themes of purpose, mortality, and legacy with beautifully playful language. Whether discussing summer camp or a shark in a tsunami, these poems illuminate what it feels like to live, to be breakable.


  • Abbie M. Copps Poetry Competition, First Place, 2007
  • Nominated for Best New Poets, 2012
  • Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest, Honorable Mention,2012
  • Illinois Emerging Writers Competition, Second Place, 2014

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)