Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jennifer Stevenson, Poet

Poet Jennifer Stevenson has been an assistant editor for INALJ since 2011. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in English with a concentration in Literature and Language Arts from Bowie State University (Bowie, Maryland USA) and an MLIS from Rutgers State University (New Brunswick, New Jersey USA). She has worked as a librarian for ten and a half years (with seven years’ experience in school libraries!). Jennifer ENJOYS being a librarian! Her versatile degree has allowed her to work and volunteer in many different settings including the Somerset County Court House, Rutgers School of Labor Relations Archives, the Plainsboro Public Library and New Brunswick Public Library. She has been active in NJLA, and NJASL and currently works in a high school media center. In addition to her high school experience, she’s had the opportunity to work in a pre-K-8 and a K-4 environment. She loves interacting with students from all over and in all walks of life. She credits her students with being an inspiration for her many works. Jennifer is working on publishing her book of poetry and blogs at Jennifer S Stevenson’s Random Thoughts 

Welcome Jennifer!

As an assistant editor, Librarian, blogger, and more, what inspires your creativity?
I am inspired by life, how people experience different moments and what they take away from it.  My best poems/lessons stem from something that really impacted me or that I am most passionate about.

What is INALJ?   
INALJ is I need a Library Job and I am an Assistant editor for the IL page.  I basically search different websites in the area and then the senior editor compiles them into one big list so that the job searchers only have to look in one area.  I am passionate about helping others find a job because I know how hard it can be to know which places to look for a job, the qualifications for the job and just what to expect once you get to the job.  I also just recently got my first article published on this website.

Do you remember writing your first poem?
I was 9 when I wrote my first poem.  I was a student at St. Mary's in Newark, New Jersey and we were given an assignment to write about flowers.  Back then I needed everything to rhyme, but just the way that the poem turned out and described the beauty of the flowers...I was hooked then.  My teacher also thought it was really good and I got an A+ on the assignment.

What form of poetry do you like to write?
I mostly write free verse because writing is an outlet for me so I never set out to follow any set format, but I do want to try my hand at haikus.

Do you believe that poetry has an impact on today’s society and culture?
I believe that meaningful words will always have an impact on society whether they are in a song, a quote, a book or in a poem.  The thing about these avenues is getting people to listen or read because the message can't be spread or received without first being exposed to the content.

How do you maintain thoughts, ideas, and brainstorming?
Sometimes I do writing prompts that I find online or that I have done in the past.  I like because they have a tool where you can pick from random words and make them make sense.

Do you have a muse?
A lot of my newer works are inspired by my son.  Every year I write a poem about him at the age he is.  For instance when he was 5 I wrote Salim at 5 and it was just a snapshot of his personality/capabilities and likes and dislikes at this time.

Please share a favorite poem of your own creation…

Salim at 7

I stand here proud

You haven’t arrived

But you have chosen

A path

A path of greatness

Each time you choose to pick up your pencil

To raise your hand

Or to listen intently

You show the world what you are capable of

Is it possible that I molded you?

From goo goos and gaa gas

To words like concentration and equation

I am in awe of you

You are a survivor

A fighter by nature

Even when you’re sick, you are strong

And I love your strength

It seems that God just continues to bless me through you

I sometimes wonder how could this get any better?

Even when I get upset, I love you

Even when you don’t listen, I want the best for you

Even when I think there is no more I have to give, I reach deeper

That is what love does sweetheart, it bends and molds itself to meet you as you grow

You don’t need me to hold your hand or carry you around

But you need support

So I scream at every basketball game

Encourage you to participate in every activity from STEM club to Science Fair to Hip Hop Dance to the Talent show to the Essay writing Contest about a Woman who is your hero

I take you to every swimming lesson even though I’m tired

Wake up early for soccer

Rush home after tutoring to make it to a school event

Send money for every trip

Love endures

Picks you up

Sustains you

As you grow in love

As you spread love

I know for certain that God has blessed us

Because you have chosen greatness

You continue to strive for the best

Making the honor roll every marking period

going to g&t

Going to the breakfast of Champions

Is awesome

I tell you all the time

But just in case you have forgotten

You are so smart

You are respectful

You are so athletic

You have a generous spirit and a kind heart

You are handsome

You have a bright smile

A strong voice that carries through a room

You are so talented in so many ways

You are so creative

You are good with numbers

You have a way with words

You are a force to be reckoned with

Be careful

Be mindful

Listen to wisdom when it is offered

Love always

Education continues to open doors

So go through them

Keep balanced

Life is beautiful

Wide and long

Deep and strong

And if you get it just right

You will have moments


You can fly

© Jennifer Stevenson

What are you currently writing?
I am currently writing cover letters so that I can prepare to send my book of poetry, The Journey to Peace, out to different publishers.  I will definitely say that this is an undertaking because knowing just how much to include, how to hook the reader, etc. has been something that I have done quite a bit of research on.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading two books: The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shinn and What I Know For Sure by Oprah.
Who is your favorite author/poet?
My favorite book is Loving Donovan by Bernice McFadden and I like many of her works.  I enjoy the poetry of Louise Gluck, Rita Dove, Maya Angelou, Shihan, Striver's Row (a group of poets) and Talaam Acey.  In all of their works their passion is evident.  It either jumps off the page or off the stage and it inspires you to feel more deeply, act more or just a general call to action.  I love works that resonate with me.
What would you like to add that would inspire novice poets/writers?
Keep writing and don't be afraid to share it with the world.  Poetry is meant to be shared, discussed and critiqued.  Develop a tough skin because every person won't like all your works.  Sometimes we forget that criticism should make us better so pay attention to your critics and take some of what they say and try to apply it if possible.
Connect with Jennifer…


Dennis said...

I love your poetry. You are awesome. Why show so little, when you do have so much more. Thank you, Jeniffer, for sharing.

Unknown said...

Hi Dennis,
I have more poems on my blog, but I am trying to get my book published so I can't put everything online. Thanks for the support!

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