Being a poet means having no fear about speaking to the human experience: An online interview with Jennifer A Hill


Jennifer A Hill:Poet, lives in USA, her blog

Dupur Mitra: Do you think poetry play role in your society?

Jennifer A Hill: Poetry plays an important role in society. It provides an outlet for our perceptions and feelings that are not accessible through other forms of writing such as novels, or through non-fiction which is very sterile and analytical. It is a direct look into the mind and feelings, and can broach sensitive subjects that we find difficult to discuss.

Dupur Mitra: Who are your major influences as a poet?

Jennifer A Hill: Jane Roberts, Emerson, Richard Brautigan and Edna St. Vincent Millay. The first two are distinctly transcendental and expansive of the position that we hold in a cosmic sense, Brautigan and Millay were both deeply critical of social and political views of their times and these are themes I sometimes light upon.

Dupur Mitra: What does being a poet mean to you?

Jennifer A Hill: Being a poet means having no fear about speaking to the human experience. There are so many strange, wonderful, and awful things about being human, from what we experience to how we process the experience. And even though our position of perception can vary greatly from person to person we find ourselves living out the same basic experience of love, learning, growth, death, loss, transcendence and self-loathing. Fearlessly speaking to our personal experience is why poetry is so honored as a medium.

Dupur Mitra: What is poetry?

Jennifer A Hill: Poetry happens when we use language to translate our personal experience into words. It is giving life to our thoughts and feelings, taking what is in the heart and head and putting it on paper. Poetry has many forms, and they all are filters for our particular experience and world view.

Dupur Mitra: What are your observations about trending of world poetry?

Jennifer A Hill: Poetry has always been important but maybe now even more as the world becomes smaller, we can see each other in a way that has never existed before. We can read and hear each other across the world in real time. People in the common struggle of human experience need to know that others are out there, and that there is understanding between people of diverse backgrounds, our humanity transcends our distance.

Dupur Mitra: Is poetry movement can improve the poetry? If yes how, if not why?

Jennifer A Hill: The poetry movement may improve poetry. If the sometimes harsh critique of postmodern poetry is its inaccessibility to the average reader is true, that is something that the poetry movement can ameliorate perhaps. There is a flow of ideas that follows the important technological and philosophical advances of individuals, such as how the development of tools changed man’s relationship to survival. New ideas were then able to form in his mind about both obtaining food, but also about his ability to shape his environment. As ideas form poetry finds a way to express our common condition, as we change in our thoughts and actions we find the need to translate these changes into words, histories, and artistic expressions. They become the foundation for our next efforts that lead to other epiphanies, other social, political and economic constructs. Poets narrate the unfolding of individual and mass consciousness.

Dupur Mitra: What is your opinion about today’s world poetry movement?

Jennifer A Hill: The world poetry movement is important because it serves the role of naked truth teller in the face of commercialism and commodification of everything, including our personal human experience. Poetry has never been an occupation to obtain wealth, and great poets are often broke and broken people. But their ability to create life out of our deadly fear and detestation of our humanity, they edify our base and vile selves and speak to our holiness and hollowness. So as global truth teller and humanitarian avenger I see the poetry movement assisting the voiceless and celebrating our common human experience.

Dupur Mitra: Describe the writing process in your poems geographic travel played a role in your poetic life?

Jennifer A Hill: I am from a very remote and sparsely populated part of the United States, Kansas. Surely you have heard of Kansas as the setting for the Wizard of Oz book and movie. I have traveled to almost every area of the United States, and some of Canada and Mexico, and in Germany. In my work I have spent time in dialogue with women from Russia, Africa, the Latin American Countries, India and the Appalachian United States. These help me speak and think about women especially our common rejection of war economies and our common need for shared space.

Dupur Mitra: How would you describe the contemporary poetry movement?

Jennifer A Hill: I see a lot I like about the contemporary poetry movement; it is egalitarian and very accessible in one way. Now many poets can have their work on the internet or self-published immediately upon completion. That makes poetry more accessible; you can go on the web and read a ton of good work. But if we view it narrowly contemporary; by definition that means all poetry between 1945 and now. That covers so much ground, so much change on every continent from traditional to underground cultures. But maybe I can say that these terms help us keep some sort of track of the ideals that rise and fall during our chronological existence. Do we say that the voices since that time are how we define that part of ourselves then we seem a confused lot covering a vast expanse of perceptual and narrative life?


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