This is me hanging out on the backroads just outside of Sault Ste Marie.

My name is Jess, but staying true to a very young version of me’s dream, I publish under J.L. Fizzell (pronounced Fizz-elle… I know… The poet’s pen name name rhymes). I’m a poet and author from a small corner of the world in Northern Ontario. Before you run away on me, I need you to know that I don’t write your English teacher’s poetry – even if I am a fan of the classics. Poetry has earned itself a bad reputation, and I want you to know that there is so much to it than deciphering words on a page to the point you don’t enjoy it. Poetry to me, is part of everyday life. It’s those words that hit just right when you need them to. It’s the way you can’t stop staring at a particular landscape because it makes you feel something you can’t put into words. It’s the expression of wonder, curiosity, and emotion that comes with being human. From the birthday cards you give, to that line in the movie that “gives you all the feels”, to your favourite things. Poetry is everywhere. I just put it into words.

I have forever felt like I need a degree or masters in English to feel “qualified” to call myself a writer or a poet. Truth be told, I’m a Psychology major who has spent the majority of her career working with kids. Poetry is something I’ve been doing for fun since I was in elementary, along with writing stories and several attempts at a novel which my teenage self was never happy with and had many a date with a trash bin – what I wouldn’t do for a copy. These days I write to inspire, or in hopes that my words will resonate with you. I aim to tell everyone that I meet that the arts aren’t something people are good at, or something that needs to be capitalized on. You can make art for you. It doesn’t have to be, and it doesn’t have to be for money. Art has some pretty amazing powers when it comes to mending the soul or adding meaning to life. That is what art is for. That is why I write (among many other creative pursuits).

My last few years of work before becoming a mama to a beautiful little human were primarily working with kids in relation to their mental health and well being. Poetry became especially important to me during that time as life was throwing me all sorts of curve balls. It was also a great tool to teach them about dealing with their feelings “in a code only you really understand”. I wanted to stay true to my own teachings; so, poetry quickly became a fun way to deal with the jumble inside my head. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t get the words right – that’s why I had metaphors. What went from the odd poem here and there quickly turned into a full on book – so I published it for fun.

The feedback I received was inspiring and so I decided to see where it would go. From there two more books came to life, along with a series of workshops, talks and author fairs.  If I had any goal in life I would tell you that I just want to inspire people, and help them know that they have a place. My hope for these books are the same – I want you to walk away knowing that you are strong, capable, and worthy. I want you to know that despite all of the ugliness in this world, there is beauty. There are good people, and the world needs more of them. We’re all capable of being the spark that sets everything on fire, the river that shapes the land, or the footsteps that cement the path. I hope as you read my work you find your own voice and take the world by storm. It needs you.

I hope that your eyes find their way to the pages that I’ve written. I’m both hopeful and confident that you will find something that will speak to your soul and give you a little nudge in the right direction. Also, be sure to poke around my website. I’ve included some interesting projects, help getting you started with your own writing, and some neat downloads created by yours truly.

All the best of your journeys. I’m so glad our paths have crossed, however brief the moment.

J.L. Fizzell