4 Questions with Jennifer Lagier.

Jennifer Lagier

1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

I’ve been scribbling since I was a child. I grew up on a peach ranch in a small town in the central valley of California. The tiny library fed my imagination as did the librarian and teachers who encouraged my writing from an early age. Authors who have influenced my work include: Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Pablo Neruda, and so many more. My writing themes seem to divide themselves into nature, feminism, political outrage/social justice, an exploration of my Italian American heritage. I also use poetry to capture family history.

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

I promote my work through use of my web site, Facebook, at readings and book signings. I have to admit, this is my least favorite activity. All those years of Italian Catholic training do not lend themselves well to self-promotion! Still, I do what I can to get the word out about my writing. Online ezines have been a boon in this respect. I do begrudge the time these activities take away from actual creation, but consider them necessary and grit my teeth and do it.

3, What projects are you working on at present?

I just finished two big projects–one is a collection of poems about the Soberanes Fire of 2016 that devastated the Ventana Wilderness and parts of Big Sur, impacting the entire Monterey Peninsula/Cachagua/Carmel Valley area and a second that captured my elderly mother’s decline and death from metastasized breast cancer last year. Both collections are present in my newest book, Like a B Movie that was released last month by FutureCycle Press. I’m currently working on two new projects–a collection of nature poems and another, gritty collection of social justice/political poems.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry is my sustenance. It is my blood, my air, my way of comprehending and processing life.

In this collection, Lagier offers readers a series of plotlines and protagonists, comparing life experiences to a cheesy, second-rate film. Her reviewers describe a voice full of compassion, endurance, tenderness and melancholy, poems as arrows that pierce the heart. Like a B Movie pushes boundaries with bravura poetry that combines shrewdness, bleak acuity and rueful humor.

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