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.
Publications: (Books) Simply Click on any of the titles and you will be led to amazon website.
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)
22 Replies to “About the Editor”
I just want to say how proud I am to be a Liberian women because of your writting. May the good Lord continue to guide and bless the work you do with your pen.
Former Miss Liberia, MN
What a nice surprise to hear from you after so long. Of course, I have been following your work out there in Minneapolis, and am very proud of you. Keep up the good work on your end. Also, please do not sign as Former Miss Liberia, MN. You are Miss Liberia, MN 2006. There is no other Miss Liberia, MN 2006, remember.
I am very proud to see the wonderful work your are doing and representing a side of Liberia that does speak of war and desolation.
I am looking forward to reading your new book of poems. Would love to do a book review for in the near future.
Please contact me at:
What a great surprise to speak with you after all of these years, and now your comments. Thanks. I deleted your personal info., but I now have it. Blessings out there in Switzerland.
im just so proud to explain my happiness ,for having a surprise in that forum as the only african you did us proud thank you and keep it up. im a kenyan poet ,actor and dancer i have all this experiences and i have even trained a troupe for doing perfomances in poetry,drama and dance is there a market for our stuff if so you will have done me proud .my poetry is advocating for world peace,orphans and HIV/Aids awareness if anything inform me pliz.
leader of drama africa
Hi, iam so much impressed with your article, i am 19yrs. old and leaving in Korogocho Nairobi, and i think we joining hands can act a movie which may lead to the stopage of war in the countries you mention. Please reply to give me ideas and what is your suggestion about the idea.
Thanks, Kennedy. Will get in touch when I return home. Blessings.
Hi Sister Patricia,
Having had some discussion with some of my friends, I decided to search the internet looking for some Liberian female writers and came across some of your books. I am so proud of you and thanks for being an example. I am currently a student at st. cloud state university MN and I am assuring you that the good work that some of you have started will live on and that one day you will be proud of me/us. (those who have learned from that which you and others have started and is using it at the best of our advantage. Once again thanks for the hard work!
Thanks, Marion for this nice note. I am proud of you already. Keep up the good work; write when you can, read a lot, stay in school. Education is the way to making a difference.
Thanks for posting these poems of yours. Wish you had posted them on the regular web post so everyone would read them easily. I appreciate your talent and your kind language.
Hi Mrs. Wesley, this is one of your English 101 students at LU – 1982. I remember well how you used to ‘give it’ to us girls. Well, we did not become writers, but some of us are contributing to society in our own way. Your photo at the camp in Ghana really reminds me of you during the LU days. Thanks for the good work. Where can I find a copy of your books to buy – if it is not too expensive?
Annie Jones (Demen)
It is good to get that long ago message and to know that God has helped so many of those sweet girls in my classes beat the times and all the problems to become great and successful people. I have seen so many of my past students, and I am who I am today because of all of you. Thanks for getting back to me. It makes my day. The books can be bought cheaply by ordering them online, sometimes even cheaper than even I can buy them from my publishers. Just go to Amazon.com or google me. Everyone is selling them. Are you in the US? In Liberia, they should be in the libraries I contributed copies to. Love you much.
I just read about your work at Penn State and around the world and already in love with you writting – you are surely a creative writer. Now I am proud again to be Liberian.
Thanks a lot, Albert, I appreciate your encouragement. Blessings
Thank you for your poem “One Day,” truly something that I needed to hear right now. I forwarded it to several friends and I am looking to purchase one of your books.
i saw ur site. nice
I am so disappointed that I am just now hearing about you. Imagine everything i have missed! I am going to purchase your books. Hope you there are children versions. I also want my kids to have an experience with our rich literary history. Most of the books taught in literature classes are western. Shakespeare is great, don’t get me wrong! But reading about my cultural roots enhances my sense of self. So, keep the lantern burning.
Thank you, Boikai. Great to hear from you. It has been a long time since I stopped visiting or posting due to my busy schedule, but your note is hard to pass by. Tell you what, you are the very first I’m responding to in years. Blessings