English Alum Publishes "The Amateur Scientist's Notebook"

Headshot of writer Jesse Delong, who majored in English at the University of Montana.

Poet Jesse Delong, who majored in English at the University of Montana, has published his first full-length book of poetry: The Amateur Scientist's Notebook (Baobab Press 2021). As part of his coursework on campus, DeLong helped select fiction for the very first issue of The Oval, UM's undergraduate literary magazine.

Though more than a decade has passed since he graduated, DeLong cites his education here as instrumental to his work. "My time at the University of Montana immensely shaped this and all my poetry," he said in an email. "I wouldn’t be a poet if it weren’t for [former UM professor] Joanna Klink. I wouldn’t be a writer at all if it weren’t for the mentoring and inspiration from [Oval adviser] Robert Stubblefield and [fiction professor] Debra Earling."

The Amateur Scientist's Notebook stirs feathers and grass with love and longing. Former UM creative writing professor Prageeta Sharma called the collection "gorgeous, urging and sentient."  It explores the Idaho landscape, an examination both literal and emotional in lines such as "your spine a river / & my chest a cutbank." 

DeLong also holds an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Alabama. He has published several artist’s books and chapbooks with book artist Sonja G. Rossow. The manuscript for The Amateur Scientist's Notebook was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Cowles Poetry Book Prize.

Cover image of The Amateur Scientist's Notebook by Jesse Delong