Jessy Randall’s collection of poems A Day in Boyland was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her other books include a young adult novel, The Wandora Unit, about poetry nerds in high school, and a collection of collaborative poems, Interruptions, written with Daniel M. Shapiro. Randall’s poems have been hung from trees, made into rock songs by garage bands, used in library advertisements, and sold in gumball machines. Her writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Flurb, Many Mountains Moving, McSweeney’s, Mudfish, Opium, Painted Bride Quarterly, Rattle, Sentence, West Wind, and Brain, Child. Randall writes regularly for Verbatim: The Language Quarterly about topics such as language in the Harry Potter series, rhyming reduplicative compounds, and the slang of Battlestar Galactica.
She spent her childhood in and around Rochester, New York and now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and two children.
Suicide Hotline Hold Music
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Funny, and frisky, Suicide Hotline Hold Music contains poems and poetry comics about arcade games, motherhood, Rapunzel, sex, and the future.
Suicide Hotline Hold Music is a collection of poems (mostly short ones) and poetry comics (poorly-drawn mostly-text sometimes-funny things). A human pretends to be a machine in order to provide comfort anonymously. We are made to consider the epic meaning of middle school pantsing. Hearts are broken and mended. Children play with My Little Robot Pony. A troll keeps a food diary. Everyone’s hair has a sound effect.
“Jessy Randall playfully expands the boundaries of both poetry and comics.”—James Kochalka, creator of American Elf
“You might be wondering what the hell is going on. There was the Big Bang and now we have all this crap. Jessy Randall’s poems will help. Funny, playful and vibrating magic from the quotidian, these poems and comics, if they don’t solve all universal riddles for you, will reintroduce wonder to your heart.”—Scott Poole, house poet for Public Radio International’s Live Wire!
Injecting Dreams into Cows
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Jessy Randall’s poems are wholly modern: smart, funny, weird, and friendly. The first poem in this collection, a jokey discourse on metaphor, ends “This poem is like a pillow. I hit you with it.” And indeed, all of Randall’s poems pack a comfy punch, the kind of nudge you might get from a friend who’s a little exasperated with you at the moment but always adores you.
Randall writes about robots, love, friendship, video games, Muppets, motherhood, Pippi Longstocking, and the peculiar seductiveness of old Fisher-Price wooden people on Ebay (“Rare Blue Mad Boy”). There’s danger and sadness alongside sweetness and fun, with an awe at the power of language underpinning everything.
Randall is partial to the “found poem” and finds her texts in places as unlikely as an airport employee”s patter (“I Am Boarding You at This Time”) or a children’s ballet class (“Ballerinas Do Not Fall on the Floor”), pointing out the poetry of our everyday lives.
Even those who think they don’t like poetry may enjoy Randall’s short, deceptively easy poems, bite-size mouthfuls of surprising lyricism, like her description of a game of “Mother, May I?”: “I’m moving toward you in slow motion all the time.” In “Tape,” for example, the “little teeth of the dispenser / nibble” the speaker’s fingers “like a lover.” In “The Caveman and the Spacewoman” a dinnertime conversation shows the inevitable gulf between a husband and wife.
Sometimes sexy and often funny (in “Phone Sex with You” the speaker vamps in a poncho with a Velcro closure), strange and yet familiar, the poems in Injecting Dreams into Cows will leave you “gasping with delight and deliciousness” like the cantaloupe of “Your Brain.”
Praise for Injecting Dreams into Cows:
“[Randall’s] poems are beyond predicting–some touching, some hilarious–full of fresh insights and some nice wildnesses.”—X.J. Kennedy
“Were I a doctor, I’d prescribe Jessy Randall. Specifically, a poem-a-day, although I know the poem will not stay put in its prescription. It’ll gurgle, thinking about growing fur. It’ll unvelcro itself, step out of itself and morph into many brilliances, into many heavens in grains of sand. No, it’ll morph into a thousand, glowing (hugely-glowing) melon spoons. Thank you Jessy Randall.”—Kate Northrop, author of Things are Disappearing Here, Back through Interruption, and Clean