Jessie van Eerden is author of the novels Glorybound and My Radio Radio, and the essay collection The Long Weeping. Her essays have appeared in Best American Spiritual Writing, The Oxford American, and other publications. Jessie directs the low-residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
About her book, The Long Weeping:
In this collection of portraits, the eye is the vital “lamp of the body,” a spiritual organ van Eerden uses to craft essays that are as much encounters as they are likenesses, as much being seen as seeing. Historical subjects like Simone Weil and the Beguines confront the author’s imaginative and intellectual being, while the viscerally close foci of family and a lost marriage must also be reckoned with. The author’s religious tradition and the rural landscape of Terra Alta, West Virginia are two backgrounds that are neither chosen nor fully understood, but van Eerden’s attention to these matters becomes its own form of devotion, a longing to see and to believe—the longing itself taking on the robustness of faith. This is the common goal of these essays, to fully meet each subject and return to it some form of wholeness, a quest full of lush imagery and insights.