Sunday, August 18, 2019

Poet Jennifer Juan | Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back

Poetry, romance poetry, poetry by women, British poetry, European poetry, BME poetry, poetry book, jennifer juan,
Today we are interviewing Jennifer Juan about her poetry collection, “Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back.”
 
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a writer and musician living in the UK. I've been creating stuff since I was a kid.

Describe your poetry collection, “Ol' Brown Eyes Is Back,” in a few sentences.
It's a collection of poems about finding who you are, and trying to get to a place where you can accept yourself and live freely.

What inspired you to start writing poetry?
I always enjoyed creating things, and as I read more poetry, I wanted to do it for myself.

Do you have any tips for young poets who are trying to perfect their craft?
I think the best thing you can do is be true to yourself and find your own voice as a creator. When you're just starting out, it can be difficult to find who you are, because you look at others around you and think that there is only one way to do things, but the great part about doing something creative is that you can do things in your own way, so take advantage of that.

You’re also active in the podcast world. Tell us a bit about that.
I started Sincerely, Jennifer x in 2017 because I wanted to get used to reading poetry aloud again, for some performances I had coming up, and I thought it would be an interesting way to be able to do that and interact with my audience at the same time. I had no idea at the time that it would end up where we are now, on the third seasons, and reaching countries half way across the world. I'm very grateful to my podcast audience, because they are very sweet to me, and they're a great source of feedback. I tested a lot of the material for my last book with my listeners, by premiering it on the podcast, and I was able to interact with listeners in emails and on social media to see what they thought.

Does writing your poems take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
I like to write about different subjects to learn a little more about them. I'll sit for hours researching things and watching videos about stuff, and then exploring it further by writing something about it. Writing also helps me to put things I've experienced myself into a new perspective sometimes. It's like I can write my own closure.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
I don't really write by hand anymore, so I tend to use my phone a lot. I have access to all the projects that I'm working on, with my phone, so I can pick things up wherever I am and write something new, or edit something.
 
Jennifer Juan
Jennifer Juan.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing poetry for you?
I think it can be difficult to let go of something and let an audience have it. A lot of the things I write are taken from who I am, and it can be hard to disconnect and realise that they could mean something different to someone else, who needs that.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your poetry?
I hope that they'll find something that they enjoy. I think that's the most important part of reading sometimes.

How have readers responded to your collection so far?
I've had a lot of emails about book clubs. I talked about this briefly on my podcast, but a few people have emailed saying about how they read Ol' Brown Eyes Is Back in their book club, and enjoyed it, which I thought was super cool. I love that book clubs are still a thing.

Are they any poets who have influenced your writing style?
I love reading Carol Ann Duffy, she's one of my favourite people of all time in general, really. I would say she's probably influenced me a little, but I tried to find a voice that reflected myself and said things in a way that others weren't doing too much, so that I wouldn't be too much like somebody else.

You’ve also released an EP, titled “Wildflowers.” What inspired you to release an EP? Have you always been musically inclined?
I did a lot of music when I was younger, but I stopped when I was in University, because I didn't have time, but I started creating music again in 2017, as I needed some music for a project I was working on, and I just kept creating from there. Wildflowers was the first of a series of Eps that I've worked on and released, with each taking a different idea or theme and exploring it through music. It's a really fun way to try new things and create something new each time. I'm releasing the next in that series, called Sleepwalking on the 30.

In ten years, where would you like your writing career to be?
I'd like to be creating things that make me happy, and that I can be proud of. I'm not sure about the specifics of that, but that's sort of what I'm looking for.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
At the moment, I'm working on a project for Halloween. It's called '93 The Garden Of The Free Children '94, and it's going to be an interactive horror project with stories, poems and music. It's going to be really fun to share that with people. 

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