I am Jenny Drai.
I'm the author of several books of poetry including The History Worker, just out from Black Lawrence Press, Wine Dark (also from Black Lawrence Press), and [ the door ] (Trembling Pillow Press). My poetry chapbooks include The New Sorrow Is Less Than the Old Sorrow (Black Lawrence Press) and :Body Wolf: (Horse Less Press).
I also write literary fiction and recently won the 2017 Gail B. Crump Prize in Experimental Fiction from Pleiades Magazine. An earlier novella, Letters to Quince, was awarded the Deerbird Novella Prize and published by Artistically Declined Press. My work has also been published at OmniVerse.
I've recently completed a novel that focuses on the evolving relationship between Beowulf and his estranged foster daughter, set against the backdrop of a queen-less, heir-less kingdom. Meanwhile, the honeybees are disappearing and a neighboring tribe is making trouble. I also try to address some of the (in today's parlance) toxically masculine aspects of the original story, which led to the disappearance of the Geats in the poem.
My work-in-progress is a collection of short stories, many involving characters who draw connections to historical figures or who imagine themselves into historical, quasi-mythical, or fairy tale landscapes in order to temper the large and small indignities of their daily lives. I also seem to have a thing for writing about sibling or sibling-like relationships.
In addition, I write book reviews. Reviews I've written have been published at Drunken Boat, Rain Taxi, Mary, and The Poetry Question.
I've lived all over the place, in both the US and Germany, and have worked all sorts of odd jobs. I studied literature and foreign languages at Beloit College, and I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College of California.
I'm an amateur shutterbug, a cooking, television, travel, and swimming enthusiast (though not at the same time), a history buff (especially dark age and medieval history), a friend to all cats, a wearer of weird socks, and, above all else, a reader. In fact, I am inspired to write, most of all, by what I read.
All photos on this website were taken by me, unless otherwise noted, for better or for worse.