W. Luther Jett

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W. Luther Jett grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, and began writing at an appallingly early age. He studied history and education at Hood College, Frederick, MD, graduating with a B.A. in 1981. He subsequently became a special education teacher for the Montgomery County School System, working with students with intellectual disabilities at a time when most people with intellectual disabilities were still being institutionalized. Jett was drawn to work with a population whose members often had no formal language, in part because he saw the problem of interpreting his students’ behaviors and giving them the communicative skills to better express themselves as being not unlike the act of writing poetry. He continued his studies at the George Washington University and the University of Maryland, where he earned a Masters in Education.

All the while, Jett continued to write. He was an early member of the Writers’ Center, when it was housed at Glen Echo Park. His poetry has been widely published, appearing in The GW Review, Salon, Cer*ber*us, Poetica, ZZZZYNE, MM Review, Kairos, Tomorrow Magazine, Liberty, Syncopated City, The Robin's Nest, Sublime Odyssey, Synæsthesia, ABRAXAS, Articulata, The Burning Cloud Review, Bulldog Breath, Middle Class Review, Soul Fountain, Poetry Midwest, Scribble, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Innisfree, The Madison Papers, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Steam Ticket, Xanadu, Haiku Journal, Potomac Review, Rockhurst Review, Concise Delight, Commonthought, Poetry Nook, and Main Street Rag.

In 2001, he received the “Best of Issue” award from WordWrights! Magazine, and several of his poems have appeared in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Executive Office Building Poetry Gallery. Jett recently received an award from Kulanu for his poem “Seferad, 1492”, which appears in an anthology of poems on Jewish diversity, Under One Canopy, published in the Fall of 2003. In June, 2004, Jett appeared on Arlington Independent Media’s cable TV show, “The Poetic Eye: Cabaradio”. He later appeared with the Cabaradio troupe during the 2006 Capital Fringe Festival. He was awarded the Editor's Prize by the Minnetonka Review in 2007, for the poems "To the Red House" and "Why the City Fell in the End". IN 2013, his poem "Two Brothers" was included in the anthology Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors.

His poetry performance piece, Flying to America, debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival. He was a featured reader during the Summer 2009 Joaquin Miller Cabin Series, and during the Kensington Row Bookshop 2010 series. Most recently, his poem, “The Chalk House” took first place in the Jean Stainback Schmidt Poetry Contest sponsored by the Long Island Poetry Collective; he was also a winner in the Moving Words Poetry Competition for 2011, sponsored by the Arlington County (VA) Cultural Affairs Division. In 2014 he was a featured reader in the Nora School series, and the Georgetown Library Series. He was a semi-finalist in the 2014 WordWorks Washington Prize competition. In August 2015, his chapbook, Not Quite: Poems Written in the Search of my Father was published by Finishing Line Press.

Written by W. Luther Jett September 2013

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