Sunday, October 01, 2017

An Interview with Jacqueline Gens by Jillian Mukavetz in Womens' Quarterly Conversation - Profiles in Poetics

Some years ago while I was still working as Co-director with Jim Harms in the New England College MFA Program in Poetry circa 2010/2011, Jillian Mukavetz - a graduate student in the  program interviewed me. At that time we had a dynamic faculty including Ilya Kaminisky, Eleni Siklianos, Carol Frost, Malena Morley, Brian Henry, and Anne Waldman every winter who cultivated among students an experimental thesis presentation.

Jillian was one such example with her series of interviews. I recently came across it online and wow did she do a great job. To read it, visit the Womens' Quarterly Conversation/ Profiles n Poetics at :

Jillian Mukavetz (left) meeting with her mentor,  Eleni Siklianos
MFA Program in Poetry at
New England College, circa 2011 

"Jacqueline Gens comes from a strong lineage of Russian women storytellers who originally migrated to the United States, more specifically Southern California, shortly before she was born. Here, Gens describes her world existing on the “cusp”. In this space of the between, the gritty earth, clouds overhead, language, music, culture; the sacred became, as it still is today, a space of vibrancy and wholeness. Quite similar to Anne Waldman’s forward in Gens’ recently published chapbook Primo Pensiero, Waldman expresses, “this debut bouquet of poems is an elegant display of ordinary mind spiked with the magic and heart of ‘Big Mind’ sensibility.”

When asked about the influence of Buddhism in Gens’ life, she describes her practice as one wrapped around, amidst, below, and between, every moment. She says, “waking up to me is synonymous with touching earth, not escaping for something higher or more abstract.” As co-director and founder of the New England College, Jacqueline tells me “I have served the muse well in this lifetime by nurturing the work of other writers and especially hundreds of new writers finding their voice.” In this way, she nurtures the internal of the feminine in a way that is a gift to the self and importantly to the larger community as well.

1.) Where are you from? What were the first inspirations that made you desire to become a writer? Who, what, where, influenced you as a writer? In other words how did you arrive here as a writer?...............

- to read more...go here.

Photo by Jacqueline Gens