About Jessa

About Me:

I’m Jessa Forest, poet and grimdark urban fantasy author.

If you’re a fan of Poppy Z. Brite, Kathe Koja, Brian Lumley, Chuck Wendig, Garth Nix, Maureen F. McHugh, Anne Bishop, Margaret Atwood, or Wislawa Szymborska you might like my books too.

Writing this now, I am 34 years old and I have never been stung by a bee. I’ve also never broken a bone. Please do not think that I am graceful, I’m just very, very lucky.

I love to travel and try not to stay in one place for more than 3 or 4 years. I have lived in Panama, the UK, and various parts of the eastern and south US. But now I’m back in my hometown in Arkansas to write The Slaughter Chronicles and earn a degree in Laboratory Science. Because biology and poetry go very well together.

The American South and the Delta in particular, have a special place in my heart. The rivers here have great stories.

In 2015 I married my best friend (Mr. J) but because of his job we enjoy a long-distance relationship. We’ve only lived together 3 out of the five years we’ve been married so far. Our dialogues appear from time to time in my Daily Life Blog.

Check out my bucket list.

If you’re a birder too, check out my life list. I’m still very much an amateur so it’s not very long.

Short BIO:

Jessa Forest writes poetry and dark fiction. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and The Slaughter Chronicles, a grimdark, Lovecraftian-esque urban fantasy about werewolves. Her stories question the definable borders of reality and indulge in the gritty, gory side of fantasy and horror. She was born in Arkansas, USA.

About my Poetry:

Sylvia Plath said poetry is the blood jet. Nick Mount, on Sylvia Plath’s Ariel, said the lyric poem is a frozen moment in time. Lynda Barry said an image is the formless thing which gives things form.

I’m not a huge fan of form or rhyme but I love sestinas and haiku. The poet Hali Sofala-Jones said the villanelle was a way for her to play with her obsessions. I need to try that. And even though I hate writing sonnets, one of my goals is to create a crown of sonnets that obeys all the rules.

In my poetry, I try to freeze (or plasticine) specific moments that convey an image that I want to understand better. Sometimes those images are bloody (in case the big, wet deer skeleton wasn’t a clue).

I’m also a huge fan of hybrid/experimental poetry and lyric essays.

About my Fiction:

The Slaughter Chronicles is a grimdark urban fantasy about werewolves and other monsters. And eventually about King Arthur and the apocalypse. But really, it’s about Caliburnus, the Kingsword. Yes, it’s all about the magic sword, magic swords are badass.

In addition to that I’m trying to work on my 2016 nanowrimo project which was another grimdark urban fantasy about faeries. But those characters haven’t spoken to me in a while so I have no idea when that project will take center stage.



Knowing Our Past Foundation “Creative Response of the Human Spirit” 2nd Place Prize, 2003.

Randolph College Margaret Raynal Fiction Award 2nd Place Prize, 2005.

Academy of American Poets Honorable Mention, 2005.

Hollins University Lex Allen Literary Festival 1st Place Poetry Prize, 2008.

North American Discworld Convention Creosote’s Poetry Contest 3rd Place Prize, 2009.

Arkansas Writers’ Conference Rita Goodgame Award 2nd Place Prize, 2010.

Pushcart Nomination, The Camel Saloon, 2011.


BA Sociology: Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA, 2008.

MFA Creative Writing: Goddard College, Plainfield, VT, 2012.


Previous versions of my poetry collections and a few early pieces of The Slaughter Chronicles were previously published under the name Jessica Halsey. I have decided to use a pen name since then and have moved the majority of my writing to Jessa Forest. If you’re interested, check out my post about relaunching my fiction and using a pen name.