Jan Bosman

Jan Hasselman Bosman
742 N. Sharon Drive
Woodstock, IL  60098
Email: jebos@comcast.net


I was born in a Beloit, Wisconsin, hospital, educated in Wisconsin schools (including the University of Wisconsin, Madison), and taught business subjects at Big Foot High School in Walworth, WI, for eight years. Then, I moved to Woodstock, IL, where I currently live. Poetry chose me to play on its team many years ago, and I've tried to improve my skills ever since. My creative non-fiction work has been published in Julien's Journal, On, Wisconsin, McHenry County Living Magazine, and Grit. My poetry has been published in Midwest Review, Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, WFOP Museletter, Voices Literary Magazine, and Blue Heron Review.

I market and sell a scrapbook, Memories of Family, Friends, and Food, that transforms into an heirloom once you place old family recipes in the pocket pages included and then journal, on the lined, acid-free pages in the binder, about the family members who gave you the recipes or the rituals and traditions that have been a part of your "food" memoirs. Pictures can also be included.


Playing 500 at the One-Room School
(Inman School, Rock County)

In the ‘40s on Saturday nights,
scrubbed farmers gathered
for the monthly card party.
In well-worn bib overalls,
they slapped cards on slick
tabletops, laughed—gold teeth
gleaming in the globe lights
of the one-room school. 

If someone made a bid of 10,
he leaned back in his slatted chair
and crowed, Throw me the Floating
Prize, and some tissue-wrapped missile
whirred through the air to the lucky
bidder who wrote his name on its top. 

We kids stayed in the basement,
twirled around metal poles
that supported the main floor
where chairs scraped and feet
shuffled with the change of partners.
Behind the coal furnace we played
and wondered when we would be old
enough to bid 10 no trump and make it.

Brown Paper Bag

Etta Mae’s momma groomed her
to marry a rich man,
taught her to dress glamorous—
everything shiny or revealing.

Her momma coached her to talk
like a high-class lady,
laid belt lashes across her back
for dropping her gs on runnin’ or eatin’.

Her momma dragged her
to the First Baptist Church
where the richest and lightest-skinned
negroes came to be worshiped.

When a rich man finally found Etta Mae,
his mother held a brown paper bag
up next to Etta’s cheek and judged her
just a smidge lighter than the bag.

“Welcome to the family,”
his mother said.

Originally published in Voices literary magazine,
McHenry County College