TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has grown and we have branched out and encompassed many fields of Entertainment and Literature. Our interviews have ranged from well known authors and actors, producers and directors, and rock stars and entertainers. We now have the pleasure of introducing poet Jackie Summers to all of our readers. Jackie, I understand that you have taken your pen name in memory of your sister. Can you tell us something about her and why you felt compelled to do so?
JS- First, may I express my sincere gratitude to your publication for having me as your guest. It has been a very exciting year for me. I have lot’s of people to be thankful for in their continuing support of my work. The reason I have dedicated my work using my sister’s name was because when I first started writing, I wanted to tell her story. I have always felt there was a mystery surrounding her death. Jackie was a very spirited young women. She left Massachusetts with two very young children to escape an abusive relationship that almost cost them their lives. In the few times she came home, she drove cross country alone, to see family. During her years in Washington, she was an assistant fly fishing river guide, and a rock hound. She collected rocks and polished them by hand. She also was the first woman I know of in my family to mine gold in Alaska.
TAEM- We found your poetry very moving. Your poems are soft, yet full of emotion. What is the general landscape that makes up the background of your poetry?
JS- I just want to say thank you for that wonderful compliment in describing my poetry. I write because for me it is cathartic. Sometimes I prefer to say it is my muse that is doing all the writing. I usually have no control over the finished product. I sometimes start out with particular thought and the beginning of a sentence, and find later what has been written was not intentional to my first thought.
TAEM- Recently you appeared in the United Kingdom during the Open Mic Night of one of our web partners, ’42’. You are touted as the first international guest to do so. How were you welcomed at the event, and tell us about your experience with ’42’?
JS- It was quite serendipitous actually. I had a small group of friends on face-book that were all poets and writers. I was very shy at first to share my work, eventually I opened a few of my notes to friends and that was when Glenn James and his wife Angela came across my work. I was invited to share my work at one of their venues and I explained that I lived in the states. Glenn was so kind to find Fergus McGonigal to read a few selections that I presented. After the reading, I was thrilled to see that my work was also mentioned in another publication touting me as the first international poet to have my work read at their 42 venue. Glenn and Angela are such wonderful people. They have been very supportive of my work and have been a positive influence in my writing career. I have found a close family kinship with all the contributors of 42. They are a marvelous group of people to be involved with.
TAEM- How nervous were you as you prepared for the show?
JS- Extremely nervous. I have never read my own work, and did not know if Fergus would know how to read me.
TAEM- It must have been exciting for you. How pleased were you at the way things turned out?
JS- My fears were put to rest with all the wonderful glowing comments I received. I never should have doubted Fergus. His work has been described as having a wry sense of humor, whereas my work is emotional.
TAEM- You have submitted your poetry to us just recently and we understand that you are also known for your short stories. What are the themes behind some of this work, and is anything related to real life experiences that you have had?
JS-I would say that most of the themes behind my work is taken from real life experiences. Write what you know, I try to remember that thought as much as possible in my writing. When my stories are based on more fictional characters, I try to remember the stories my grandmother would recite to us as children. She was a great story teller of all the reasons a child felt the need to look under their beds.
JS- Since the time I was a child I have been drawn to the woods. It is a haven of solace for me from the hard scrabble of life. Whether I am skirting the back roads for wildlife, or leisurely leafing through a book, painting or photography, it becomes an opportunity for me to reflect. When I look into the pitch dark, on an endless sea of stars at night, one realizes just how insignificant we are in the vast space of our world. For every star I gaze upon, I know there are stories in them, your stories.
TAEM- Jackie we want to thank you for your time in this interview with The Arts and Entertainment Magazine and look forward to hearing more from you in the future. I know that our readership has enjoyed your poetry and we want to wish you luck in all that you do.
It’s been my pleasure.