Finishing Line Press Publishes ‘Just Another Jack: The Private Lives of Nursery Rhymes’ by Michele Herman '85

BY Rebecca Pinwei Tseng, December 27, 2021

Finishing Line Press will publish the poetry chapbook Just Another Jack: The Private Lives of Nursery Rhymes by nonfiction alumna Michele Herman '85 in January of 2022. Just Another Jack is available for pre-order now.


Through the lives of eight familiar nursery-rhyme characters, Herman delves into themes of adolescent lust, overprotective parents, dementia, gender confusion, and more. Just Another Jack explores the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Sprat, traverses the pastures where little Bo Peep lost her sheep, conjures up a twin brother for Little Miss Muffett, and more.


Writer Victoria Redel writes of the chapbook, “Herman slyly enters the territory of seemingly simple nursery rhymes and, with robust and gorgeous language, reimagines a complex and highly nuanced world...The resilient voices that rise from these poems are startling; akin to a sudden reveal of the hidden lives and tragedies of close neighbors you thought you’d known."


Poet Lisa Bellamy also praises Just Another Jack, stating, “As the Oldest Child who lives in a shoe confesses, ‘it’s hard to breathe in here I open up the lace and roll the tongue up high I wish I had some help’—a feeling all readers will understand. Just Another Jack is a fresh, unique angle on the human condition.

Herman is the author of the novel Save the Village (Regal House Publishing, 2022) and the poetry chapbook Victory Boulevard (Finishing Line Press, 2018). Her poems, stories and essays have appeared widely in publications including The Sun, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, and The New York Times. The recipient of several writing awards, she teaches fiction, poetry and memoir at The Writers Studio, works as a developmental editor and writing coach, writes columns for The Village Sun, translates French songs, and occasionally performs her own work in cabaret and theatrical settings.