The Long Version:
Jen Tappenden earned her BA in English in 1991 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, which is also where she began writing poetry. In the years after graduation she kept writing, became a co-host of the local public access television arts show Truckstop Intellectuals, as well as a Contributing Editor for Traffic East magazine. Her Traffic interview (with Karen Lewis) of Thom Ward (formerly of BOA Editions) was featured on Poetry Daily. During the week she worked at various full time health information management jobs including: medical coder, HMO quality auditor and coding supervisor for a medical research company. In 2005 Jen was transplanted to St. Louis...
...where she found work as a research data manager at Washington University School of Medicine, a job she still holds. She quickly found her way into the poetry community via Loosely Identified, a women’s poetry collective that meets at the public library in University City, MO. From there she became involved with the St. Louis poetry Center, serving on its board and briefly on its executive committee before starting her MFA at the Univeristy of Missouri – St. Louis in 2008. While at UMSL, Jen founded Architrave Press in an attempt to interest more literary fiction readers and writers in poetry. Before she completed her degree in December 2012, she was also named the university’s first Poet Laureate.
Jen continued to publish Architrave until 2018. She also served as poetry editor for december magazine and was one of the original team behind the St. Louis Small Press Expo. In August 2013 she was named a Creative MasterMind by the Riverfront Times. Her chapbook, Independent City, is now out from Wells College Press where she was a visiting writer in October 2016.