Jason Olsen

Jason Olsen was born in Escondido, California before spending the bulk of his childhood in Los Angeles, California and his teen and undergraduate college years in Las Vegas, Nevada. He lived in Spokane, Washington (where he earned his MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry from Eastern Washington University) and Kalamazoo, Michigan (where he gained his Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing—Poetry) before moving to Price, Utah in 2008 to teach writing and literature at the College of Eastern Utah (now Utah State University Eastern).

He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Utah State University where he teaches a variety of writing classes including poetry, fiction, and the teaching of creative writing (in addition to composition and literature classes). He was awarded the 2015 Utah State University Eastern Faculty of the Year award and was a finalist for the University Shared Governance Award at Utah State University for his commitment to University Service.

His first book of poems, Parakeet, was published by BatCat Press in 2017. The book is inspired by “Choose Your Own Adventure” books—a series of children’s books in which, instead of being read straight through, the reader must make choices over the course of reading that will lead toward different narrative paths. Parakeet takes this concept and turns it into a book length collection of poems. In 2016, he was awarded the Utah Original Writing Award for best book-length poetry manuscript for his collection Fire Engine Descending a Staircase (as chosen by Lola Haskins). This manuscript has also been shortlisted as a finalist or semifinalist for over a dozen nation book awards. He won another Utah Original Writing Award, this time for best book-length collection of short fiction, two years earlier for his collection Robot Action Pinball (as chosen by Becky Bradway). This manuscript was a finalist for two national short fiction awards. He was also awarded an honorable mention in the Utah Original Writing Competition for a short collection of poems he submitted in 2016. He is currently under contract with McFarland Press for a manuscript that examines the work of writer Mark Gruenwald and specifically Gruenwald’s 1985-1995 run on Marvel Comic’s Captain America. Olsen’s poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Missouri Review, North American Review, Pleiades, and Hanging Loose.



  • Parakeet, BatCat Press, 2017.