Interview with Poet, Jennifer Grisham

I remember the minute I clicked the publish document button on Amazon for the first time as a self-published Poet.  It was probably the most exhilarating and frightening feeling in the world.  But for better or worse we are constantly shaped by our experiences as a Poets; the good the bad and the strange edits. I only mention this because I can only imagine how Jennifer Grisham is feeling right now as her very first Poetry book Whiskey Sour Love will be released this Saturday June 29 on Amazon.  Based on reading her lovely poetry on Instagram -- I am forever certain that Whiskey Sour Love would make for a splendid addition to anyone’s poetry collection. For further updates I suggest you follow Jennifer on Instagram @alchemical.poetica .

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you over come it?

JG: I believe that many writers get creatively blocked sometimes.  It's a natural thing that happens.  I am a writer who thrives in moments where she feels immensely inspired.  I can have writing "fevers", which are
when I can be on an artistically inspired roll for a while.  However, the result can leave me dry for days or weeks.  When I feel as though I am experiencing a block, I try to put myself in places I have found inspiration often times before to see if it will help trigger words.  I will have quiet nights where I can engage in some reading or listening to music (which can often inspire me) or I will park myself outside somewhere beautiful - in plentiful sunlight.  Sitting with my own thoughts while observing the beauty of the world around me is quite helpful.

RMMW:  We all have to contend with our inner critics, how do you deal with yours?

JG: I am perhaps, my own worst critic.  Aren't we all?  I am a person who is very hard on herself, especially when it comes to the writing she produces.  Sometimes I find I need to step away from a piece for a while if I am "not feeling it".  I can always return to it later and hone it into something I am happier with.  That is the beauty about writing, it is a never-ending process.  Nothing is finite because you can always return and rework things. I also find the support of my closest friends within the Instagram writing community is helpful in terms of receiving constructive criticism.  They never steer me wrong, and it is helpful to hear that perhaps you are being too hard on yourself.  In general, I also try to remind myself that we are here for our own self-expression.  Some work will be more powerful than others, but even if I feel as though my writing is weak, someone else may benefit from those particular words.  It's about connection - you can't criticize your work if it connects with anyone, even if it’s only one human being.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

JG: Most of the time, inspiration hits me everywhere.  However, sometimes when I am in the mood to write and I am at home I like to make sure it is late evening.  I go to my vanity/desk area and turn on all the dimmed lighting I have in the room.  I enjoy listening to a Spotify playlist made up of soft music that inspires me (such as Cigarettes After Sex), and I sit.  It allows me to put myself into the right headspace so that I can feel everything I am feeling in that moment completely.   This is as routine as I get, honestly.  More often than not a part of a piece will hit me while I'm in the car or at work and I have to spill it out before it is lost in the wind.

RMMW: At what age did you start writing?

JG: Since I was 10.  It's all I ever wanted to do.  I'd hole myself up in a corner somewhere and write.  I wrote poems and long epic fantasy stories when I was younger until I moved into seriously writing short pieces in high school.  I can't remember a time where I didn't write.

RMMW: Why do you love poetry so much?

JG: I love poetry so much because it is a way I can express myself artistically. It allowed my voice and soul to be heard, rather than allowing them to remain trapped inside myself. I love poetry because it moves people and it moves me. It can create the most beautiful of connections between others.

RMMW: What you do you feel contemporary poets struggle with most?

JG: I think contemporary poets struggle with presence on social media. I think micropoetry is very big because people want short things they can relate to in immediacy. I think poets feel like they might have to fit themselves inside of those expectations in order to be successful, though that’s not necessarily true.

RMMW: What do you feel good poetry ought to do?

JG: Good poetry ought to create a connection or allow others to truly feel the emotions you are trying to convey. Good poetry has a particular voice. Finally, good poetry brings others together through common experience.

RMMW: Do you see writing poetry as a spiritual practice?

JG: In many ways I do. It is certainly spiritual for me. It is a time and space where I feel as though I am worshipping myself and my emotions, truly caring for my voice and telling it that it matters.

RMMW: What is your favourite poem written by you?

JG: Some of my favorite poems are my unpublished ones. There’s a particular poem I wrote about a man who I wanted to learn more about, aching to have him “read me his story”. It might appear in my debut collection this summer. If it does, you’ll know it when you see it.

RMMW: Who are your favourite indie poets?

JG: I admire many of the talented poets I have met on Instagram. I am grateful to have befriended some of them, especially considering I admire their work. JonPaulpoetry is absolutely phenomenal. His work is some of my all-time favorite. His writing is raw and gut-wrenching. His words are always beautiful and melancholy all at once. On the same vein, Blushing_Poetry, Kelly, is a personal favorite because her writing is very raw. MK McWilliams is very fresh and uplifting. I also enjoy work by Barry, thehollowgram.  I am also a fan of Wilder Poetry. I have all of her collections.

RMMW: Do you have any specific themes you enjoy writing about most?

JG: Many of my poems are about love and loss. I also tend to write about female empowerment/the portrayal of women in today’s society. Additionally, I write nature-based pieces, mental health pieces, and self-empowering pieces when I can.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be? 

JG: Teleportation.  I'd like to be able to go wherever I want, whenever I want, in a matter of moments.  I could see so much in so little time and do so many things.  I could also be with those I love instantly. 

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