Interview with author Jennifer Juan

Today our guest is Jennifer Juan. She is a 25-year-old writer, living in the south of England. Jennifer is currently celebrating the release of her first printed poetry collection "Stormy Weather" and creating a short film, "Ours" based on her earlier poetry that was previously published online, through her website. We have conducted an interview with her.

Why do you want to make poetry more accessible to young people? How do you plan to do that?

I remember being at school and being fascinated by poetry, but always feeling it was above me when in reality, poetry is a human expression, made extravagant, and coming to that realisation opened a whole new world for me, and I want to give that realisation to other young people.

Poetry can be quite difficult to access, in the UK, there isn't really a chance to really read or study it until the later part of secondary school, so I think by presenting relatable and engaging poetry to young people through social media, where they can access it, I'll be able to help them discover it earlier.

What is "Stormy Weather" inspired from?

"Stormy Weather" initially came from my love of artists like Bobby Vee, Juan Gabriel and The Beach Boys, I have always wanted to write things that have a very vintage, throwback vibe, and so that was my starting point. I tried to approach every subject with a classic style, and adapt it to what it needed to be. I looked at the things around me, and reimagined them, through sepia-toned glasses.

What kind of opportunities were extended to you while writing "Stormy Weather"?

One of the things I really enjoyed about writing "Stormy Weather" is that it was an opportunity to say so many things that had been on my mind, and use them to create something new and artistic. I think that is the best part about poetry, you can use the world around you, and the words you've used all your life to bring something completely new into the world, and it travels further than you might ever do yourself.

Why did you name your short film "Ours"? What is it about?

The name "Ours" comes from the final night of the title poem, which is "And this night is ours." I wanted to capture how meaningful even the shortest adventure in love can be.

The film is a poetic exploration of love, between two people who are thrown together by fate but find themselves torn between the passion they feel and the reality that they are destined to meet but not destined to be together, and is set in Blackpool, in England. I was there when I wrote it, and I just felt overwhelmed by the utter romance of the town.

There is a ballroom, with gorgeous music, and so much love radiating between couples as they dance, a long and beautiful beach, where you could just walk down it and fall in love with your surroundings, as well as anyone you meet. Just walking through it myself, alone, I felt like I was at the beginning of a romantic drama, so I created one.

How do you plan to do so as to help young writers?

I think art and expression are so important, especially for young people who often feel that they don't have a voice. I remember when I was younger, I was often told I was too young to understand complex issues, or to create artistic ventures and while I had the intelligence and the skills, I lacked confidence and always kept quiet, so I want to help young people find their voices, so they grow up with confidence in their abilities and the skills they may not even realise they have, in the same way, some of my mentors did for me.

I'm hoping to create accessible writing resources for young people, and create a community, using my platform, to encourage expression and artistic pursuits.

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