Indie Author Profile on poet Jennifer Stewart. @kjjenstewart #TheEvolutionofAPoet #poetry
I founded Arlene Miller Creative Writing in memory of my mother Arlene Miller (August 24, 1924-May 10, 2005). The goal of Arlene Miller Creative Writing is to recognize & support all forms of creative expression. To achieve this goal, Arlene Miller Creative Writing profiles actors, artists, authors and musicians with articles showcasing their work.
In 1972 when I was 7 years old, I told my mother that I wanted to be a Poet Laureate when I grew up. Even as a child, writing poetry was my passion. I remember watching a television news program with my mother that showed then British Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman with Queen Elizabeth. I was also obsessed with the British Royal family at that time and another one of my hobbies was observing their comings and goings. But back to being a poet laureate: Yes,in my childhood innocence,I envisioned my future with what I felt was the best job in the world: writing poetry for a living.
Fast forward 45 years later: I never became a Poet Laureate, but I have published numerous poetry books and I still write poetry everyday so my road traveled has led me to the place that I most wanted to be.
I also read alot of poetry. I have long been enamored by some of the poetic masters (William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning), yet I have recently made it my mission to explore some indie poets. How fortuitous that I discovered indie poet Jennifer Stewart. I’m pleased that her book, The Evolution of A Poet, was the first book that I read and reviewed in 2017.
When I reviewed The Evolution of A Poet by Jennifer Stewart for The Nerdy Girl Express, I stated that the book “is a beautifully poignant, delightfully lyrical exploration into one woman’s often painful journey through life. Stewart’s poetic genius is rooted in her ability to allow her words to guide us through her journey. She courageously lets us prowl around her brain and gaze into her heart. The end result is our appreciation for a collection of verse that is quiet and reflective, sometimes dark yet willing to embrace light.”
The emotion and skill in which Stewart writes has made The Evolution of A Poet an endearing poetry book for me.
In my book review on The Evolution of A Poet, I also offered a critical analysis of Stewart’s poems. For example, I wrote:
“The Stage is Bare is one of my favorites in this collection. Here we see the poet wanting to fill the hearts of her audience with the food of her words. This poem is brilliantly layered and full of emotional depth. By its nature, poetry is raw and unfettered. The words pouring from the poet’s heart speak to her emotion. I would argue that the only character in a poem is the poet herself who weaves her narrative around the elements of life.”
The beauty of poetry, I would argue, is that it exists without pretension. The words are unencumbered. They have no hidden agenda. Poetry is one of the purest art forms because it permits us to assign our own interpretation that it is best suited to our unique experiences.
Jennifer Stewart writes from the perspective of a journey fraught with both sorrow and triumph. The Evolution of A Poet acknowledges that sorrow does shadow us. As much as we seek to alienate sorrow from our lives, surviving sorrow is that which feeds our growth.
Stewart’s poem Pretense is another favorite of mine. In analyzing this poem in my book review, I wrote that “Self discovery is a prevailing theme: Having the courage to be who we really are, where we embrace our authentic self rather than a societal convention. Yet, to live without pretense is a sought after goal.”
With a hint of melancholy, Stewart notes in Pretense:
“As dreams of lies told, pull and tear at us,
Not wanting us to be
Who we truly are.”
I would hope, for all of us, that we learn how to be who we truly are. For that, I believe, is the promise of evolution.
To buy Jennifer Stewart’s book The Evolution of A Poet: