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Memoirist, Journalist, Poet, Writer, Human



"Lori Jakiela is the queen of the wise one-liner. Fiercely sad and heartbreakingly funny."
-- Stewart O'Nan, author of WEST OF SUNSET, EMILY ALONE and more

"It is said that we see the world we are looking for – Jakiela sees human kindness and human folly in equal measure, and describes all of it vividly, poignantly, and with a brilliant sense of humor." ~ Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire and more


"Jakiela's latest poetry collection is a tour-de-force mustered, as so much of Jakiela's work can be, from amplifying the quotidian until it achieves a grace all its own." -- Fred Shaw, PITTSBURGH QUARTERLY

"I could throw a rock in just about any direction and hit a good writer. The hard part is finding the special ones, the writers who make us laugh, then cry and who make us feel like they're in our heads. Lori Jakiela is one of the special ones, and she reminds us why, essay by essay, sentence by sentence. She writes from the heart, she's fearless and funny, and her love for her family and her craft leap off the page." -- Ben Tanzer, author of BE COOL and more

''I am a big fan of Jakiela's writing, and Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe has all of her gifts on full display. This memoir is sharp, insightful, sad, and often darkly funny. Her prose is honed to perfection, sure, but it really is her big heart and her wisdom about the stupid, terribly imperfect, and beautiful world that makes me want to read anything she writes.'' -- Greg Bottoms, author of ANGELHEAD, PITIFUL CRIMINALS and more


"There's arguably no writer in the region that's more versatile, and beloved, than Jakiela." -- Rege Behe, PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER







BOOKS (Click the covers if you'd like)

Stuff Nice People Say
(thanks, nice people!) 

On Cancer, Love, and Living Even So

"Arguably Jakiela's most poignant and heartbreaking work." Rege Behe, Pittsburgh City Paper


"Jakiela's writing is honest and funny, poetic and intimate. She masterfully blends her memories and thoughts into a dynamic picture of her life as a daughter, mother, caregiver and care-receiver. Reflections on parents and parenting, good nurses and bad doctors, Pittsburgh, female bodies, and the good ol' days of the 1900s. At each scattering of rice (the beats between the short pieces that make up each chapter), I found myself pausing to laugh or gasp or curse or simply look up in awe of the beauty of what I just read. "All these accidental moments, these bits of unexpected sweetness, that make up a life." Along with the also remarkable "Belief is its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe," go read this book! -- Robin LaVoie, author and historian


"A unique and deeply personal exploration of life, love, and mortality. While cancer is a central theme, the book transcends the typical boundaries of a cancer memoir. Instead, it presents a mosaic of moments, memories, and musings that create a tapestry about the messiness of being human. It's a celebration of the small, quirky moments that define our existence and a reminder that even in the face of adversity, life can be beautifully chaotic. A truly unforgettable read." -- K.C. Finn/Readers' Favorite Reviews 


"The extreme stream-of-consciousness, 'leaping time' style of this book is like an extended conversation between friends, perhaps at a Panera Bread with a coffee and croissant. The discourse ranges from Jakiela's love of Hemingway and her beloved Pittsburgh to being adopted, working as a flight attendant, parenting and being parented.... While this is "a cancer memoir," Jakiela doesn't ruminate extensively on her illness or give cancer center stage. It's presented with the understanding of this being a communal experience, one woven into the fabric of one woman's life as a writer, a wife madly in love with her husband, a daughter of hardworking parents from Pittsburgh, a mother of two, and an adoptee. We do, in fact, contain multitudes. 'The idea is not to live forever,' Andy Warhol said. 'It is to create something that will.' With They Write Your Name on a Grain of Rice: On Cancer, Love, and Living Even So, Jakiela has done exactly that." -- Melissa Firman, author of the book review site "You Have Left the Planned Route" and more

How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen? Poems at Mid-Life

"Jakiela, like such top-tier American poets as Grace Paley, Edward Field, and Billy Collins, is able to write confessional poems that are equal parts ruminative and humorous, and she does it all while sustaining a gorgeous lyricism. . . . She writes so beautifully about such a variety of subjects―motherhood, literature, small-towns, marriage, Walt Whitman, fathers, hometowns, middle-age, Ernest Hemingway, difficult jobs--that all I know with any certainty is that this is as warm-hearted a book as I've ever read." --Kareem Tayyar, author of ORANGE COUNTY

Portrait of the Artist as a Bingo Worker: On Work and the Writing Life

"In 23 essays and 213 pages, Jakiela leans on what she knows best, crafting a world that revolves around work and family to ground readers in the realities of an upbringing in Trafford and the obstacles of adulthood. The book's backbone is its celebration of labor, the lessons and connections to humanity it creates." -- Pittsburgh City Paper



Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe

"Jakiela is a master at weaving past and present together; at creating a seamless picture between who she was, who she has become, and who she does not remember--the self that she cannot grasp. Her memoir is like a recipe: "a proof of an exchange, a transaction between generations" Imbued with raw feelings of love and doubt, Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is an unforgettable story from the first page to the last." -- JMWW

The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious 

"Lori Jakiela's painfully funny memoir "The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious" is so good you'll wonder why the author isn't the literary toast of the entire country by now...Part of the unabashed fun of reading this book is seeing familiar landmarks through the eyes of an exceptionally talented writer who is only one New York Times book review away from a national reputation. This memoir may not be the last word on the volatile subject of mother/daughter relationships, but it is already among the most honest and best written this decade." -- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Miss New York Has Everything

"Don't let the smiling stewardess on the cover fool you: Jakiela's memoir has more in common with Chuck Klosterman than Coffee, Tea or Me? The early story focuses on the author's 1970s childhood in a working-class Pennsylvania town, especially on her father, a factory worker who considered other people "cockroaches," but doted on his pet miniature poodle. She dwells on her love of '70s pop idols like Shaun Cassidy and explains that her decision to abandon a career as a journalist and writing teacher to become a flight attendant was inspired by a childhood admiration for Marlo Thomas and That Girl. Unsurprisingly, Jakiela discovers life in the skies isn't really glamorous, and the job quickly takes an emotional toll. "My world started to shrink down to small spaces," Jakiela writes, an endless chain of jet cabins and hotel rooms. But there are also poignant moments in brief portraits of colleagues and passengers, and more than enough proof that Jakiela's decision to pursue a writing career was the right move." -- Publishers Weekly

Spot the Terrorist! 

"Terrific poems by a true airline survivor. Full of wit, humor, and heart." -- Stephen Slater, former Jet Blue flight attendant/ folk anti-hero


"Lori Jakiela's poems read like factory guys doing shots after the foreman's funeral. Powerful, delicate, funny and goddamn great."-Serge Bielanko, MARAH