NAME: Patricia Jabbeh Wesley
Hobbies: Writing, Cooking, Shopping (ha)
Occupation: Family Chauffeur, Family Cook, Teacher, author, and whatever comes on a given day
CONTACT: (814) 949-5501
Visit My Website at http://www.pjabbeh.com/
I am so glad you came to visit me. This is the greeting place, the kola nuts and spiced pepper will be served, and then you can go about from posting to posting and see what’s here for you. I do my best to write for the enjoyment of my visitors, but mostly to get them thinking about the things that bother the world. Every now and then, I get on the light side because as they say in Nigeria, “If you don’t laugh, you will cry.”
Enjoy, and please do come back from time to time. You are important.
My Professional Bio
Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Professor of English, Creative Writing and African Literature, immigrated to the United States with her family during the 14-year Liberian civil war, a war that has helped shape her writing as a Diaspora African woman writer in the United States. For more than two decades, Wesley’s poetry has given voice to the voiceless, the hundreds of thousands of Liberian war dead through its exploration of themes on the plight of the refugee of war, the new African Diaspora mother/wife and African femininity, motherhood, home, displacement, and the survivor as witness. African scholar and literary critic, Chielozona Eze describes Wesley as “one of the most prolific African poets of the twenty-first century,” and Kwame Dawes, poet and founder of the African Poetry Book Series describes her as “a poet at the height of her skills and at the height of her clarity about the world and what things must be spoken into it.” She is the author of six books of poetry: Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, Pittsburgh, 2020), When the Wanderers Come Home, (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), Where the Road Turns (Autumn House Press, 2010), The River is Rising (Autumn House Press, 2007), Becoming Ebony, (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003) and Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa (New Issues Press, 1998). She is also the author of a children’s book, In Monrovia, the River Visits the Sea, (One Moore Books, 2012). Her poem, “One Day: Love Song for Divorced Women” was selected by US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser as an American Life in Poetry June 13, 2011, featured poem. She has had dozens of individual poems and memoir articles anthologized and published in literary magazines, including Harvard Review, Transition, Crab Orchard Review, Harvard Divinity Review, Prairie Schooner, among others, and her work has been translated in Spanish, Italian, Finnish, and Hebrew. As a literary scholar and professor, Wesley has conducted research on Liberian women’s war stories, served as elected Executive Committee Member and Chair of the African Literature Division of the Modern Language Association (MLA 2003- 2008), and has presented numerous papers on her own poetics, African literature, African poetry, and poetry as a genre at several international conferences and literary festivals in the US and around the world.
Wesley has received many awards and grants, including a 2020 Humanities Institute Fellowship from Penn State University and a 2011 Institute of Arts (IAH) Fellowship from Penn State, each for a semester long leave from work for the production of new literary work, a 2016 WISE Women Literary Arts Award from Wise Women of Blair County, Pennsylvania, a 2011 President Barack Obama Award from Blair County NAACP in Altoona, PA, the 2010 Liberian Award for her poetry and her mentorship of young Liberians in the Diaspora, a Penn State University AESEDA Collaborative Grant for her research on Liberian Women’s Trauma stories from the Civil War, a 2002 Crab Orchard Award for her second book of poems, a World Bank Fellowship, among others. Her poems have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Awards. She is Professor of English, Creative Writing, and African Literature at Penn State University’s Altoona campus.
The River Is Rising by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (Autumn House, Nov. 15, 2007)
Becoming Ebony (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry) (SIU Press, 2003 -Crab Orchard Series Open Poetry Competition Award, 2002)
Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa (The New Issues Press Poetry Series) by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, 1998)