At 23, Jess Dickinson has just had her debut poetry anthology ‘Mad Man Modernity’ published. On the day her book was released, she went to number one in Amazon’s Women’s Fiction chart.
The collection of poems deal with life, death, friends, family and much more. The anthology is made up of five sections, entitled Light, Loss, Clan, Dark and Land. Beautifully crafted, each poem is equally engaging, and enhanced with delicate illustrations by Phil Richardson.
Jess is not afraid to show her vulnerabilities, as her poetry delves in to the personal. She is also incredibly empowering, with poems such as ‘THE FUCK IT LIST’ calling on the reader to –
celebrate your body
Stand in front of the mirror and say
“Well you’re a bit of alright”
Inspired by her work, I asked Jess a few questions about her debut collection.
How does it feel to have an anthology of your work published?
It feels great. It is such a happy time at the moment. I have had a wonderful response from everyone who has read the book. I was walking to work on Friday (book release day) with a great big smile on my face and couldn’t help semi jigging to the sound of Elvis blaring out of my headphones. I consequently fell off the pavement, picked myself up and continued frolicking in the sunshine!
What/who inspired you to start writing?
My Dad was a very inspiring English and Drama teacher. I remember as a child we would practice spelling together, read stories and then I would write my own. My first ever story I wrote was ‘The Ghost of Raven House’ which I wrote when I was seven and three quarters. As I got older we would read Shakespeare together and give every character its own voice. I have very fond memories of reading ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ in the bluebell woods with Dad! Bottom was a Scouser and Puck was a South (‘Saaath’) London girl. And then I was lucky enough to have some really inspiring teachers at school who looked after my passion for writing and always encouraged me to ‘live adventurously’ and pursue what I really wanted to do.
How did you choose the headings for your work?
The poems just naturally fell into the different headings in Mad Man Modernity. The book begins with some light hearted silliness and as you journey through the book it becomes darker and more emotionally charged. I wanted the book to feel like a journey for the reader, just as I went on a journey writing it.
What advice would you give to other women who are thinking about creative writing?
Maya Angelou is a huge inspiration to me, she once said: “Write it, so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart” This is key. Whatever it is, however bad you think it is, write it. Write it, re-write it and then share it. Take part in spoken word and poetry gigs – spoken word has given me a strong voice in a very loud world, and this is so important as a young woman.
We’ll leave you with a poem from her collection, Mad Man Modernity, which is currently available as an ebook from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mad-Man-Modernity-Jessica-Dickinson-ebook/dp/B0106NXOY4)
OH FUCK IT GIRLS
atleast I’m getting kissed
I mean pissed
I mean, oh sheet I em sooo peesed
and i’d like to be keeesed
right taxis here!
quick look in the mirror
and gorgeous hair
where the fuck are my heels?
no heels, legs like seals
heels under the dog
queeek keees for the dog
and we’re off
out through the door
taxi takes us into the night
into the wild and starry night..
OH FUCK IT GIRLS
what a night.