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Monday, April 18, 2011

April is National Poetry Month: An Interview with Poetess Jacquee T.

Those who followed me on Writers in Residence will recognize Jacquee T. as the master marketer who combines readings with charity work, bringing about fun events. She epitimizes romance in everything she does. I wanted to delve into her writer side, so I asked about her book of poetry.

Could you tell us what your book, Growing Up (the pain, the joy, the discoveries) is about?

I believe we’re all growing up, whatever age we are. We continue to be challenged, and to reflect on our experiences. However, I’d decided on the book title after I’d compiled the poems and organized them into chapters.

One day I’d decided that a collection of my poems would make an intimate gift for my closest friends and family. I selected poems, quotes and essays I’d written since I was very young to present, then divided them into categories.

Per the selections arranged, I divided them under chapters: “Grey-Blue Skies,” “Love,” “Fears,” “Moods and Changes.”

The first copies were three-hole punched and bound with three ribbons. It all seemed simple and wonderful, until I gave the first book away. When I handed it to a dear friend, I suddenly realized what I was giving. I was giving me, and I wanted that book back! That story, and how I overcame that initial shock of revealing so much of me, is told in the preface.

When I founded my company, Detour Productions, I decided on Growing Up as the first print publication. I designed it as a gift book. It’s 7"x7", cloth hardcover book with silk screen on the cover and spine. The book jacket has a lovely design. So, Growing Up makes an elegant display on the coffee table or nightstand. It’s designed to have handy for personal reads, and to share. It doesn’t have three ribbons tying it together like its predecessor, yet it does have a red ribbon bookmark.

When people open the book, they find poems, quotes and essays laid out nicely on each page. I call it “accessible poetry,” as the works are easy to read and engaging. I have learned since the first Growing Up print version to this, that both men and women respond emotionally.

It’s rewarding to receive their feedback. Bringing the poetry book to print was a journey. That is shared in the Growing Up Preface, and in the Afterword. Everything in between, is poems, quotes and essays in the order and in the chapters per the original three-ribbon bound book.

Do you play around with meter and style, or do you have a favorite form, or do you prefer freestyle writing?

I’ve been a writer since I learned to put pen to paper, and have allowed inspirations to come out as they were – prose, plays or poems. I became naturally receptive to how an idea hit. If it hit as a poem, I never forced meter or rhyme; yet sometimes the poems presented themselves that way.

“The little girl dressed in white felt quite trite. She fell asleep
at the wishing well and dreamed of hell. During her snooze
she tapped her black, patent leather shoes. Suddenly, her
mouth opened wide, and aloud, she cried, for she thought she
had died. When she awoke the words she spoke in her head
were how she’d dread to be dead. On the grass she laid,
clasped her hands and prayed. As the sun set for the day her
black patent leather shoes carried her away. No one would
she tell of her dreams by the wishing well. But the little girl
dressed in white was full of fright."

from Growing Up (the pain, the joy, the discoveries)
© 2008 by Detour Productions, LLC

Most poems came out in “free form,” yet demanded their own line breaks and spacing.

She dreamed about

him again; and when she

woke up she looked

over wondering if

he had seen her

in the same dream.

from Growing Up (the pain, the joy, the discoveries)
© 2008 by Detour Productions, LLC

You give readings, and I know you have the advantage of being an actress. Do you think it’s vital that authors read their poetry aloud in front of an audience?

Being an actress and being a poetess who reads her own poems are two separate things. That’s how I treated them at first. Then I realized they could be the same thing.

I could become my poem in voice, just as I had in writing, during book signings by reading select poems. Still, in the presentation, I held the open book – as a prop, or a crutch, or both.

Most the time, in my opinion, I read shyly. However, when I raised my gaze, I saw that the audience members were engaged. They’d wanted to hear my poems from me, and in that alone I sounded well to them.

Depending on the poetry reading venue, folks raised their hands with questions, about my poems, my book, and my inspiration. Or they approached me afterward to inquire All I needed to do was respond honestly. Their questions sparked my knowledge and passion. By nature of the exchange, I further engaged them.

So yes, I believe it’s good practice for writers to read select work aloud.

In summary:

We poets and poetesses begin by penning something we may or may not share.

Writing poetry is revealing. Putting it to print is another vulnerable step. Yet once we do, folks love the
opportunity to hear our works from our lips. Go ahead. Every step is a growing experience.

For more about Jacquee, visit her web site. She also has A Romantic's Perspective , where you can check out her poetry page .


  1. Your examples are charming. I like reading poetry but writing it seems very personal to me and I've never wanted to expose myself that much--except for silly ones for fun. You're brave to publish it. Good for you!
    Ellis Vidler

  2. Thank you! I welcome you to consider purchasing a book for yourself, and perhaps for a friend or family member. It really makes a nice gift! (Link to the poetry page above.) Cheers!