Jennifer Jean speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her poem “California,” which appears in The Common online, in a special portfolio of writing from the Lusosphere (Portugal and its colonial and linguistic diaspora). Jean talks about writing this poem to be in conversation with Joni Mitchell’s song of the same title, and how music works its way into much of her poetry, in both rhythm and language. She also discusses writing her new poetry collection Object Lesson which centers on trauma, and co-translating poems by Iraqi women poets with an Arabic translator.
Jennifer Jean’s poetry collections include The Fool and Object Lesson, out this year from Lily Books. Her teaching resource, Object Lesson: A Guide To Writing Poetry, is also out this year. Jennifer’s awards include a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Fellowship, a DISQUIET Fellowship to write and study poetry in Portugal, a “Her Story Is” Residency (where she worked with Iraqi women artists in Dubai), and an Ambassador for Peace Award for her activism in the arts. She’s the translations editor for Talking Writing Magazine and the program manager of 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center’s Online Writing Program. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and children.
Order Object Lesson and the companion teaching resource, Object Lesson: A Guide To Writing Poetry, here.
Learn more about Jennifer Jean and her work at jenniferjeanwriter.weebly.com.
Follow Jennifer Jean on Twitter at @fishwifetales.
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The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag.
Emily Everett is managing editor of the magazine and host of the podcast. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She holds an MA in literature from Queen Mary University of London, and a BA from Smith College. Say hello on Twitter @Public_Emily.