I regularly occasionally when I remember to look at my calendar and realize I haven’t posted anything on my blog in a month–post poetry on my blog but I have had a few published by some lovely, lovely presses. Here you can find the links to some of my work. Depending on the date, my name is listed as either Jessica Otto or Jessica Forest, those names were from my previous marriage and before my second marriage. I am not pretending to be three people. That’s way too exhausting.

Portrait: The Idle Class

River Girl: Pink Litter

Not an Epistle: Pink Litter

Oracle: qarrtsiluni


ISBN: 9781732036703

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Where do you go after the flood? After you drown? Can a ruptured body repair itself or does it drag itself along the road, go as far as it can before it dies?

A nameless traveler drives down the road and is swept away by a flood that transforms the road into a river, transforms the landscape into something vicious and inhospitable. Searching water and sky for everything that is lost, the blood and bone of the organic organism abandons the twisted, inorganic body of the car and dives deeper into the unknown. On this roadriver, the shifting boundaries of life and death know no limits. The Echo of Something Hitting is a lyric essay that explores the transformative journey from disaster to survival and beyond; a deconstructed creature returning to the earth, becoming something new.

Fans of Catherynne M. Valente’s The Labyrinth and Bhanu Kapil’s Incubation: A Space for Monsters will enjoy this handful of words.

(The first edition of this book was published in April, 2016, and titled Riverkill. This second edition has revised and updated content, as well as a new title and book cover. The ebook Riverkill is no longer available for download, The Echo of Something Hitting is the new incarnation of the text.)


ISBN: 9781732036710

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Full of rebellion, desire, and viciousness, Jessica Halsey’s Lupercalia guides readers through the ruins of stories when they smash against reality. The city is born, slippery and feral, and then it grows, collects and rejects a multitude of denizens that break and reshape the boundaries of mythology and the spirit of the city itself.

An inventory of ghosts, explorations of grief and loss, the effects of oppression on a body existing in a landscape of hostility; Lupercalia contains snapshots of surreal realities, these speculative and fantastical poems represent the search for identity and purpose in a world that challenges the endurance of the human spirit. From the fall of Icarus to the loneliness of abandon, these poems represent how every hero and trial is a reflection of our daily lives.

When is a mythological body not a myth? There are no mermaids in National Geographic documentaries, we do not have holy relics of Odysseus, however, the stories of trial and triumph are mirrors that reflect our collective human attempts at living. Living as verb, living as the adventure that is worth experiencing. The heroes and villains of mythology are our bodies, our stories. This collection explores the capacity of a poem’s body to endure love and pain in equal measures. These poems use the power of lyric, poetical and prosaic, to demonstrate the capacity for love to survive within memories of sorrow.

This collection is a revised and updated Second Edition of Jessica Halsey’s two previously self-published poetry collections, Graveyard and Twisted Myths.