Jill McCabe Johnson

JMJ at Mountain Lake 2 RoundJill McCabe Johnson is the author of the poetry books Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrown (Finishing Line, 2017) and Diary of the One Swelling Sea (MoonPath, 2013), winner of a Nautilus Book Award, plus the nonfiction chapbook Borderlines (Sweet Publications, 2016). She is series editor for the University of Nebraska Gender Programs anthologies, including Becoming: What Makes a Woman and Being: What Makes a Man. Honors include an Artist Trust grant, an Academy of American Poets Award, the Mari Sandoz Prairie Schooner Prize in Fiction, Scissortale Review’s Editor’s Prize in Poetry, plus the Deborah Tall Memorial Fellowship from Pacific Lutheran University, where she completed her MFA in Creative Writing, and the Louise Van Sickle Fellowship in Poetry from the University of Nebraska, where she received her PhD in English with an Interdisciplinary Specialization in Nineteenth Century Studies. Johnson teaches creative writing and English at Skagit Valley College and is the founding director of Artsmith, a non-profit to support the arts.

From the Foreword

[W]hether out of convenience or culture or the mind’s tendency to categorize, we often speak in binary terms of men or women. in fact, our artwork, media, icons, and legends often depict hypersexualized versions that become archetypal, even mythological. Unfortunately, those exaggerated portrayals create two potential problems. One is the risk that those who identify as male or female will feel a sense of inadequacy in comparison to the archetypes. The other is the risk of judging others based on preconceived notions and expectations for their appearance, behavior, capabilities, and character traits. As noted author and physician Dean Ornish writes, “Names and beliefs and preconceptions can bring a sense of order to the world, but often at the expense of being able to experience life fully.”

Luckily for us, the authors in this collection, as well as editors Connie Pan, Pat Matsueda, and Rebecca Thomas, have instead portrayed more nuanced representations of the masculine experience that begins with the archetypal and mythological, but troubles it, complicates it, causes us to challenge our own fundamental beliefs against a more complex and realistic array of expression.