BJ Omanson

Poet

333 Wagner Road
Morgantown, WV 26501

Author's Bio

Largely self-educated, BJ Omanson has spent the past fifty years working in five states as a barrel plater, punch press operator, furniture factory worker, autoworker, tree trimmer--- a cedar-shake mill worker & cedar-bolt cutter while living for a year in a lean-to on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State--- a truck driver, taxi driver, bus driver, gardener, day laborer, nurseryman, librarian, used-bookstore manager, gravedigger, garbage collector and custodian--- a greensmower & night waterman on golf courses in three states--- a nurse's aide on a locked ward for the criminally insane in two states--- a courier delivering library books to little mining towns high up in the Colorado Rockies--- and, finally, two years as a barn restorer, farmhand & teamster (driving draft horses) on a farm in Minnesota.    ---All of which adds up to a classic writer's education of the old school.

For six years he worked on a part-time basis as the layout editor for the academic journal, Medieval Perspectives. 

From 2007 to 2017, he interpreted the daily life of an 18th-century frontier farmer at Prickett's Fort on the Monongahela River north of Fairmont, West Virginia. 

He has published poetry & literary criticism in such journals as Hudson Review, Verse, Shenandoah & Sewanee Review. He has also published theatre & art reviews, regional history & military history. 

In 1997, Omanson founded Monongahela Books as an online used-book store. Twenty years later, in 2017, Monongahela Books began publishing its own line of books, specializing in American history and culture. 

Publications & Prizes

Anthology:
New Voices: University and College Poetry Prizes, 8th edition (Academy of American Poets, 2002)
Books:
Before the Clangor of the Gun: The First World War Poetry of JA Wyeth (Monongahela Books, 2019)
,
The Land Itself (Monongahela Books, 2019)
,
Old Locksley among the Ruins (Monongahela Books, 2018)
,
Two Nocturnes on Arnold's "Scholar Gipsy" (Monongahela Books, 2018)
,
Stark County Poems: War & the Depression come to Spoon River (Monongahela Books, 2017)
,
The Tower at the Edge of the Wood (Monongahela Books, 2017)
,
This Man's Army: A War in Fifty-Odd Sonnets (University of South Carolina Press, 2008)
Journals:
North Stone Review
, , ,
Shenandoah
,
Sparrow
,
The Hudson Review
,
Verse
Prizes won: 

Academy of American Poets College Prize, Rockford College, 1989

More Information

Gives readings: 
Yes
Travels for readings: 
Yes
Identifies as: 
Other
Prefers to work with: 
Any
Fluent in: 
English
Born in: 
Osceola, IL
Illinois
Raised in: 
Spoon River Valley, IL
Illinois
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Oct 02, 2019