WEB WEDNESDAY – De Miller Jackson – Part I
The first selection for Web Wednesday is De Miller Jackson’s “Whimsygizmo.” Her voice is quite familiar here at Poetic Bloomings, as well as at Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer.
De has a great blog and a fine body of work to present there. Marie Elena conducted this interview with De to get an insight into her poetry.
MARIE: De, I make no apologies and no secret of the fact that I want your brain. Your ability to manipulate simple words to form captivating poetry entertains and intrigues me to no end. The piece below is one of the first that caught my eye and charmed my senses:
a dirty note
in your clean laundry
in your handwriting
addressed to not me.
(Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer, 2009 April P.A.D.)
You begin with the inspired, more-than-one-meaning title. “Found,” which is the crux of the subject matter, sits skillfully alone on the first line. You move to describe the “dirty note” in “clean laundry.” Again, use of the double meaning “dirty,” and “laundry” is so very clever. You could simply end with, “addressed to her.” Or, “not addressed to me.” But your “addressed to not me” ends this little piece of brilliance, and makes it captivatingly “De.”
1. Your word-play style (as exemplified in “spin cycle”) is unlike any other with which I am personally familiar. Is there a poet who inspires you?
First off, I wanted to say thank you to both of you for this opportunity, and your encouragement. I’m loving this bloomin’ site, and feel so privileged to be here.
Okay, poets who inspire me. Oh, so many. I’ve loved E.E. Cummings since high school. I recently picked up a tattered copy of Theodore Roethke’s “Words for the Wind” (he had me at the title), and now I’m addicted to his penchant for lush descriptions and blatant disregard for convention of phrase. I adore Sharon Creech, who writes novels, with poetry at the center of each. And maybe my absolute modern favorite is the work of pithy poet/whimsical artist Brian Andreas. He rocks. Google his name or “Story People” immediately.
2. You often write of the pain of an ended marriage. Unfortunately, you write heartache very well. Do you find pouring heart to page therapeutic?
I think a more accurate word might be necessary. I hate to think of myself as an angst poet, but the truth is simply that tears and ink tend to flow at the same time. That particular heartache was 21 years ago, but I can remember scribbling my anger onto napkins, hotel brochure margins, anything I could get my hands on. As the Goo-Goo Dolls say, “scars are souvenirs you never lose,” so it’s easy even now, in the peaceful hollow of this second-chance life of mine, to channel that pain back to the page. I definitely write best when I’m…tumbled. And I breathe best when I’m writing.
3. Do you consider yourself to be a “poet?”
Ha. That’s a tough question. Sometimes. I do like that you can be unpublished and call yourself a poet, while you’re supposedly not an “author” until you’ve sold something. I’ve always considered myself a writer, and I’ve tried my hand at poetry since I could pick up a pen…but I think the title itself comes tough sometimes. And then there are days when I’d much rather be a zookeeper, or a pirate. The pen might be mightier than the sword, but sometimes it’s infinitely harder to pick up. But I would say I’ve definitely embraced Psalm 61:8 as my chosen job description: “I’ll be the poet who sings your glory, and live what I sing every day.”
4. Your faith shines in a good deal of your writing. How much are you inspired by the praise and worship music lyrics of today? What else inspires you?
Relevant, personal praise lyrics inspire me so much. We’ve got an amazing team at our church, and they share the newest songs as well as their own original works. Actually, poetic song lyrics of any kind get my muse fired up. I love that music makes poetry digestible for the masses. Even people who say they don’t “get” poetry know a great line when they hear one. A sharp movie or TV script makes me itch to write, too. We’re currently re-watching the series Pushing Daisies, and it’s truly one of the most brilliantly written shows ever. I’m also inspired daily when I’m able to keep up with the extraordinary work that’s being shared on sites like Poetic Asides, and now this growing place.
5. Is there a specific poetic form that tickles your “whimsy”?
I was introduced to both the Fibonacci and the Shadorma through Robert’s Poetic Asides site, and I love both. I like pieces that pack a punch, in just a few words. I’m most fond of short and straight to the heart (or gut) prose. The more formal forms tend to intimidate me – just the word “sestina” makes me break out into a cold sweat. Mostly I get enamored of a turn of phrase, a spill of words rubbed together in a certain way, a way I never would have imagined.