Thursday, September 26, 2013

5 Questions With Jackie Clark

Jackie will be reading from her book, Aphoria and from a manuscript in progress called Everything is Always Wonderful When it is Almost Over on October 3, 2013 at 7:30pm as part of the NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase.

The reading will take place at
in the Chase Room
of the Madison Public Library
39 Keep Street
Madison, NJ 07940
Click here for directions

There is a suggested donation of $10. All tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the readings. No advanced ticket sales. 

Jackie Clark is author of Aphoria, a collection of poems from Brooklyn Arts Press. She is the series editor of Poets off Poetry and Song of the Week for Coldfront Magazine, a contributing writer and content manager for The Rumpus, and is the author of three chapbooks: Office Work (Greying Ghost Press), Red Fortress (H_NGM_N), and I Live Here Now (Lame House Press). Some of her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming from Bone Bouquet, Denver Quarterly, Open Letters Monthly, and Yoga City.  Jackie lives in Jersey City and can be found online at

1.  What is it about the form of poetry that draws you in?
As Wordsworth says, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”  Early on I realized that I suffered from spontaneous overflows of powerful feelings and that the only thing that made sense for me to do about them was write them down.  So I would say that I was drawn to the form of poetry long before I realized that poetry was a thing.   I needed a place to put my “powerful feelings” and poetry ended up being the most satisfying.  

2. You are the author of three chapbooks (Red Fortress, Office Work, and I Live Here Now). What is a chapbook and how did you get started writing one?
In plainest terms, a chapbook is a small book.  They vary in length but are usually much shorter than a regular book, around twenty to thirty pages and most often the writing in the chapbook is loosely related, conceptually speaking.  So, it’s a way for a writer to devotingly explore a topic or an emotion that they are either interested in or grappling with.  Also, there is an artistic component to chapbooks as well.  Many publishers use the chapbook as an opportunity for creative construction, meaning that many of them are hand-sewn, letter press editions with custom art on the cover, so they really have a personalized feeling to them, which makes them really beautiful artifacts. The chapbooks I have written each have their own conceit and are a result of my processing particular emotions (as in I Live Here Now) or dealing with particular settings (as in Office Work)—they are small insights to a bigger system.  

3. What was theme of your very first poem? Would you be willing to share it with us?
Oh man, it’s embarrassing but I think one of the first “real” (in my mind) poems that I wrote was titled “Cry” or “Tear” or something equally as dreadful.  Guess what it is about? Haha. I wrote it in 7th grade in this blue notebook that I used to take to every class with me.  It was part journal, part doodling notebook.  I bet you I still have that notebook somewhere, probably in a box in my parents’ basement.

4.  You are the series editor of Poets off Poetry and Song of the Week for Coldfront Magazine. Do you feel you approach this work from a more of a poet’s perspective or that of an editor?
I think I approach this work as both a poet and an editor, with both of those roles reinforcing the other.  I think doing editorial work has strengthened my writing.  That said, I think I am able (most of the time) to be a sensitive editor because I know what it feels like to be on the other side.

5.  Since you live in Jersey City, can you tell us one of its best kept secrets?
More and more it feels like Jersey City is less of a secret than it used to be.  New restaurants and shops are opening every day.  But still, one of my favorite spots in Jersey City is the Taqueria, a funky little Mexican place on the end of Grove Street. Best tacos in town.

To learn more about Jackie, visit our website.

You can also find additional information on our website about the Literary Artist Fellowship program.

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