Thankful Thursdays #3: Jessica Spruill and Velicia Jerus Darquenne

For today's Thankful Thursday post, we share thoughts from Jessica Spruill, an alumna of the West Virginia Wesleyan MFA in Creative Writing program, and Velicia Jerus Darquenne, a current student who will be graduating this winter. We are thankful to both of them for their moving words.

Jessica Spruill (Poetry ’15)

I am thankful for love. For a deep abiding love that astounds me daily. For the all-encompassing love of motherhood. For the love in my son’s eyes every morning we wake and see each other again. For the tough and tender love I feel for my students. For the loving support of my MFA family. 

I’m thankful for words. Words that fill spaces, absences. Words that spill over the edges of my heart, the ones that make it onto the page. Kind words. Words of protest and frustration. Words that can articulate our innermost thoughts and the ones that just come close. 

I’m thankful for dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and dirty diapers—for the everyday life and provision they represent. I’m thankful for every struggle and triumph of each day and how they help me prove to myself that I am strong enough. That I am enough.

Jessica Spruill is an assistant professor of English at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia. She earned her MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Jessica is a poetry editor for Heartwood, and she also founded and curates Wordstock Wednesday, a literary reading series which hosts local and Appalachian authors. Her piece "Birth/Butchery" recently appeared in Burnt Pine Magazine, and her poetry has also appeared in the Pikeville Review and Still: The Journal.

Velicia Jerus Darquenne (Fiction ’18)

Today, I’m thankful I have so much to appreciate. I’m thankful for submitting the first deposit of my thesis, my cats who give me sanity, my family and friends who told me I could do it when I was no longer sure, my cohorts and faculty who have the ability to save the world with their words, and the mountains that raised me. 

But mostly, what I think is often neglected, I’m thankful for myself. I’m thankful for the person I have become, the challenges I’ve conquered, and that I’ll continue to grow because of the people surrounding me. 

Velicia Jerus Darquenne is from Clarksburg, West Virginia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Fairmont State University, and currently attends West Virginia Wesleyan’s MFA program. Her piece “Immaculate Conception” recently appeared in Pretty Owl Poetry (see page 30). She is the media editor for Kestrel, and has also been published in Whetstone and Crack the Spine.

Left to right: Jessica Spruill and Velicia Jerus Darquenne. Photo of Spruill taken by Doug Van Gundy, WVWC MFA poetry faculty. 

Left to right: Jessica Spruill and Velicia Jerus Darquenne. Photo of Spruill taken by Doug Van Gundy, WVWC MFA poetry faculty.