Jefferson Hansen holds a Ph.D. from the Poetics Program in the English Department at SUNY-Buffalo, where he worked with Robert Creeley and Charles Bernstein in the mid 1990s.
Now that we got the fancy stuff out of the way, I will give you the real deal. Before New York State, I was living in Wisconsin. I was born in scenic Sturgeon Bay in Door County, a favorite rural destination for Chicagoans. I grew up in Green Bay, one mile from Lambeau Field—home of the Packers football team. The public schools provided my education.
With some help from my parents and funds created by working seven days a week at a pickle factory during the summer, I got through Beloit College in Beloit, WI. While there, I never learned of Lorine Niedecker, the great poet who lived in nearby Ft. Atkinson and even attended the college for a short time. I ended up learning about her at SUNY-Buffalo, where she became one of the foci of my dissertation.
I started publishing poetry in journals and chapbooks while at SUNY-Buffalo. The highlight of my writing career there was attendance at an International Meeting of Poets in Coimbra, Portugal. I represented the United States along with Elizabeth Burns, Robert Creeley, and Charles Bernstein. I met the English poet Tom Raworth and the Quebecois writer Nicole Brossard, both of whom had an impact on me.
After grad school, I taught in prep schools in Albany, NY and Minneapolis, MN for 16 years, until 2009. While at the prep school in Minneapolis, I ran a reading series on some Sundays that included many writers, including Umar Bin Hassan, Nicole Brossard, Diane Glancy, Wang Ping, Charles Bernstein, Mark Wallace, J. Otis Powell, Douglas Ewart (musician), Mankwe Ndosi, Miekal And, and Maria Damon—who was also a great supporter and audience member.
During this time, I began publishing full-length books—Lyrical Eddies, ...and beefheart saved craig, Jazz Forms. (See the "publications" link on the home page for more information on these books.) In the 2010s I started a second career in human services. I have cared for people with developmental disabilities and mental health issues, a type of work I do today.
In the last decade, I published Cruelty and 100 Hybrids. I also edited the online arts journal AlteredScale from 2012 to 2014. Arranged in galleries and edited according to musical metaphors, I attempted to turn all the artistic work into a single grand ensemble piece, with lots of interlocking, little pieces. I feel I succeeded because a few musicians, interestingly, remarked on the musical qualities inherent in my editing.
Some of the figures in the journal included rocker Pat MacDonald, jazz-rocker Todd Clouser, classical composer Ann Millikan; and the writers Thyllias Moss, Wang Ping, Mark Wallace, Jonathan Brannen, Michael Jacobson, and many, many more. Big shout out to my local Minneapolis friends who helped with AlteredScale: Mary Kasimor and Dan Ryan (who since moved), the late Jonathan Brannen, Terrence Folz, Tom Cassidy, Lenora Drowns, Ann Tweedy (who also moved), and Michael Jacobson. Unfortunately, after a financial crisis caused by severe health issues, I lost all my money and could not afford to keep the journal on the Internet. Those issues have been left behind, and I am now financially secure and work by serving people with mental health issues.
(I just learned that AlteredScale1, which used a different platform, is still live at this link: https://sites.google.com/site/alteredschale/.)
Currently, I am hard at work on The Altered Scale Blog, which accompanied AlteredScale, but never fell off the Internet. The blog promises to, once again, become a home for literary discussion and the presentation of asemic work, films, art, poetry, fiction, and essays. By the end of May 2021, it should be vigorously back to life, with a wide variety of artists involved.
I am also working on The Mistake, my 2022 book from Post-Asemic. When finished, it will probably be around 300 pages, and will include some of the most far out writing of my career: time travel, Rip Van Winkle-style sleeping, talking chipmunks, a devil selling a water bottle for $1000, and talking Dutch Elm trees from the 50s, before they all died. I feel good about it, and look forward to bringing it to the world.