Today we travel across the pond to UK poet and blogger Jupiter Grant! Jupiter recently released her saucy debut collection “Poe-rotica” which I reviewed and we’ll talk about today! We learn much more about the depth and insight of the collection from this interview so let’s hop right into it.
A good chunk of your collection is written in rhyme schemes, what do you enjoy about rhyming?
The “sing-song” quality of rhyming poetry appeals to me. I like it’s rhythms and beats. When I have a rhyming couplet in my head, there’s a tempo that inevitably accompanies it, and I find myself tapping out the beats as I write.
As I say in my introduction, I grew up with the work of an English poet called Pam Ayres. I don’t know whether she was ever well known outside of the UK, but she’s very famous here. Her poems were always in rhyme schemes, and they were always very funny. I recommend everyone look for clips of her reading her work. There are lots on YouTube and, for me, they still stand up decades later.
If you won the lottery, (or your book sold a million copies overnight!) what is the first thing you would do?
After jumping up and down excitedly, and possibly fainting from the shock, I would immediately hand in my notice at work, and buy a house or a flat overlooking the sea where I could spend all my time writing, reading and walking along the beach. My absolute dream location is the west coast of the UK, Cornwall or Devon, but I guess the Caribbean would be fine, too. 😉
There are some predominant english words such as ‘shag’ and ‘wanking’ as well as French words which i think adds another layer in the collection, how do you think language plays a role in poetry?
I think the beauty of colloquialisms is that they speak to the shared linguistic heritage of a group of people. For me as a reader, if I encounter a word, phrase, or reference that is perhaps peculiar to my own cultural and linguistic heritage, I feel like I’m sharing an in-joke with the author: in that moment, we “get” each other, we’re on the same page. To give an example, in a recent fiction I wrote there was a reference to “Ann Widdecombe”. She is a well known, indeed infamous, right-wing politician here in the UK. Had I changed it to “Margaret Thatcher” (which I had considered doing) more people would have understood the reference, but it would have seemed anachronistic and out-of-touch. As it was, the context of the sentence meant that a reader didn’t need to be familiar with Widdecombe’s name to understand the inference.
Also, colloquialisms or foreign words and phrases can often capture an idea very effectively in a short word or phrase, where one might otherwise need a more “wordy” stanza to achieve the same effect, or can express a concept more poetically or sensually (e.g. soixante neuf). That’s a useful tool for any writer, I think.
Though words like shag and wank are not commonplace in the US, I suspect that anyone who’s watched an Austin Powers film would still get the reference, so I didn’t feel concerned that using these terms would confuse or alienate a non-UK readership. And I like throwing a bit of that kind of Brit-speak in because it’s a reflection of how I talk, and I find that no matter what I’m writing, there’s usually a chunk of me in there somewhere.
There are some religious references such as Eden’s Garden and Christ-like which is an interesting juxtaposition to the collection’s theme, could you share a bit more about the thought process?
I have always been fascinated by the interplay of sex and religion. There are countless academic studies that explore the interconnectedness of the two. Sex and the mystico-religious experience are both associated with ecstasy, love, communion with a/ The beloved. If you read the works of many of the most well-known Christian mystics and saints, there is a very strong vein of sensuality and almost orgasmic intensity in their religious experiences. St Teresa of Avila is a perfect example, but there are countless others.
I think also that in the same way regional colloquialisms can enhance meaning in one’s writing, the language of religion also forms part of our shared nomenclature. As readers, regardless of whether we are believers within a religious tradition, most of us will still have at least a basic familiarity with the concepts of, for example, the garden of Eden, karma, Nirvana, a Bat- or Bar-Mitzvah, the hajj, etc.
Where do you hope the future takes you, writing-wise?
I share the same dream as arguably every other author on the planet, which is to be able to write full-time. I don’t have any grand delusions of being the next JK Rowling or Danielle Steel. As long as I could earn just enough from writing to keep a roof over my head, keep enough basics in the cupboard, and keep the WiFi running, I’d be in seventh heaven.
I’d like to have finished writing and editing my first novel by the end of 2019. I really enjoy blogging short fiction and poetry, and I fully intend to keep doing that. I’ve met such amazing, supportive and simply wonderful people through my blog, and I don’t know how I ever got along without them in my life!
What was the first song/album/artist you fell in love with?
I was an ABBA fan from the time I was a toddler. But the first artist and song that I remember being absolute obsessed with was Kate Bush and “Wuthering Heights”. My second cousin had the ’45, and my family couldn’t get me out the door while it was playing. In the end, she was somehow persuaded to give me the record, as well as her copy of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer. (I’m sorry for nicking your records, J!). Thus began a life-long love affair with Kate Bush. I think she’s magical.