Jacqueline Allen Trimble began her writing life after learning the word “swiftly” in Mrs. Edna T. Mosley’s first grade class. The word seemed to her the perfect mixture of sound and sense. That night, she went home and pecked out her autobiography on her grandfather’s old portable typewriter. It was one paragraph long and may have been the most tightly written manuscript she ever produced. A few years later, she discovered Edgar Allen Poe and T.S. Eliot and decided to become a poet. After winning a few contests in high school, she earned gas money in college by charging a dollar a line for customized verse. Most notable was an apocryphal narrative ballad written to commemorate a certain Mr. Tarlow’s receiving a wooden toilet seat from his friends for his birthday. She got one dollar per line. Though her heart belonged to poetry, pragmatism, if one may make such an association in this case, led her to earn an MA and a PhD in English from the University of Alabama. For almost three decades she has taught composition, American literature, African-American literature, women’s literature, creative writing, Southern literature, and critical theory; won numerous teaching awards; and not written very much poetry. However, recent workshops with Marge Piercy on Cape Cod and Billy Collins in Key West have rekindled her passion. Her poem, “American Happiness,” was recently published in The Blue Lake Review, and she is at work on a collection by the same title. For seven years she chaired the Department of Languages and Literature at her undergraduate alma mater, Huntingdon College. She currently chairs the Department of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University.
(photo by Jackie Trimble)