Monday, October 6, 2014


This week, my friends, I am bringing you someone very special, a beloved member of our community, Jae Rose, who writes so beautifully at  her blog of the same name. I was so pleased when Jae agreed to an interview, so we can get to know the young woman behind the beautiful poems a little better. Jae Rose lives across the pond in England, so hop aboard, and we'll go find the poet in her home. We'll arrive a bit before teatime, but I suspect we'll find the tea steeping and the tea tray ready, nevertheless. 

Sherry: Jae Rose, it is so wonderful to be able to put a face and a person behind the words of your poems. And reading your poems,  there is no doubt you are a Goddess of Words! So do let us see, just a little, the person behind the pen. Spin us a tale, weave us some of those words. What would you like to tell us about Jae Rose?

Jae Rose: Jae Rose is my pen name, Jae playing with my ‘real’ world name. I am inhabiting Jae more and more as she becomes the part of me that ‘speaks’ and, more importantly, is heard…in my writing you may notice that sometimes I refer to j …this is how I feel the outside world perceives me… small..insignificant..not fully formed. 

It also relates to the experiences I have had (none of them very pleasant) in the hands of the mental health service. Last year I was sectioned - committed to a secure hospital - for an entire year. I had no computer/internet access for 6 months and would dictate my writing over the phone to my sister who typed it up. I felt like a very small j and Jae kept me alive in there…gave me a purpose. As did my internet friends, who corresponded with me in many ways. 

Sherry: I am so sorry you experienced that, Jae Rose. My family is very familiar with the difficulties of dealing with the mental health service. Being without computer access for six months would be added torture. Bless your wonderful sister for keeping your words coming, to those of us who admire them so much. What part of England do you live  in, Jae Rose?

Devon -

Jae Rose: Where in the world does J live - Devon, in the South West of the UK. Near the sea and hills. 

Ilfracombe Town -

Ilfracombe Harbour -

I grew up in Ilfracombe. An artist called Damien Hirst lives near the area and has a statue called Verity on the harbour. I think she is beautiful. 

Sherry: I love her name - Truth. And I envy you your proximity to the sea. Ilfracombe is beautiful!

Jae Rose: I would like to say I go to the beach and explore the hills, but largely I am either going to a mental health programme or at home in my virtual world - literally.

Jae's window

Sherry: I am chained to my desk, too, Jae Rose - yet we are connected with the whole wide world!  I am always so struck by the originality of your work, the reach of your imagery and imagination. When did you begin writing?  Tell us a bit about your poetic journey.

Jae Rose: As a young child, I was deemed hyperactive and intellectually not quite ‘right’. I wrote in mirror writing, which now I find quite amusing since Alice travels with me quite a lot. When I was small I explored the world more physically. I could go out on my bike or walking…exploring...quite content in my own world. I enjoyed writing letters though. I was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. I think writing is how I am beginning to learn about the emotional world and relationships and people - myself, even. Mind you I collect diagnoses by the bucket load so it could just be that I’m odd. 

Jae's desk - where the magic happens!

Sherry: Well, you are delightful and wildly talented, whatever label they might try to give you. I personally take pride in being as odd as I possibly can manage. (I don't have to try hard, lol.) Were you a bookworm as a child, as so many of us were?

Jae Rose: I found reading frustrating when I was very young. If I didn't understand a word, I felt I couldn’t move on, because that one word might be the key to the whole story. There were no books in the house and I probably found interests via TV - by the time I was a teenager, for example, I saw a programme on Kafka and became obsessed by his stories - particularly Metamorphosis.  

I did enjoy English at school, although realised there was really a formula to success in writing an essay, so I am not sure if it was imagination or learning a pattern. I think if a subject interested me I found things out about it myself. That was my real education.

Sherry: How is it you chose poetry as your means of creative expression? 

Jae Rose: I don’t think I did! I am still never quite sure how to describe what I write. I kept journals and snipped out lines from books and quotes etc., and I still use a similar technique now. A sign or an image will stick with me. I write it in a notebook, let it gestate and then all of a sudden it fits in somewhere. 

I love songs which are essentially story telling. Singers like Regina Spektor and Sinead O’Connor, Eminem, Lana Del Ray. To me that is like poetry. Brief. Intense. Emotional. And you don’t have to listen if you don’t like it.

Sherry: "Brief, intense, emotional" - wonderful qualities to strive for in a poem. What do you love about poetry?

Jae Rose: That it can be whatever you want it to be.

Sherry: I love that description. How do you feel when a poem is completed?

Jae Rose: I think there is an element of therapy in what I write. I certainly feel I have expressed thoughts and feelings that I can’t say out loud. I think and hope people take away the words on different levels. I don't expect it to be understood - if someone leaves liking a candy star or lemon drop that’s ok by me. In fact it makes me happy that people see a lightness.

Words for me are like playing and learning. Making up for gaps that  were missing in the ‘real’ world when I was younger. It also feels safe. I don’t often go back and re-read things but sometimes I do look back and think where did that come from. So maybe at times it’s quite subliminal. Comments help me understand what I write, too. So thank you to those who help it make sense.

Sherry: I have those moments, too, reading older poems, of wondering who wrote them. Do you write prose as well?

Jae Rose: No - I think I would have liked to, but I have the attention span of a fruit fly and can’t hold bigger pictures. I always thought I worked quickly, but really it’s a process that’s always going on in my head.  I have vague notions of gathering up the themes of my poems and turning them into a part fiction part autobiographical book. You would probably need to come here and Sellotape my hands to the computer for me to have the nerve to do that. Or maybe I already am, with my blog, and it will evolve when it is ready.

Sherry: I like that - our blogs as autobiography. Who is your favourite poet, and what do you love about his or her work?

Jae Rose: I loved Stevie Smith as a teenager - ‘Not Waving but Drowning’ in particular. I liked that it wasn’t like poetry you are meant to like. It was human, troubling but funny at times. Not self-indulgent or literary. 

I do admire Sylvia Plath but I am not an earnest poetry reader. I think magic can be found in words scrawled on walls or happened upon in random books or papers. It’s what captures how you feel  in that time and place.  

Sherry: Are there one or two poems, written by you, that you’d like to share with us? Would you “set us up” a little, and give us a little background or explanation of what the poem is saying?

image from Tim Burton's film, Alice In Wonderland

Jae Rose: This one was just fun..i liked playing with the sounds and the words. Behind it was probably the relentlessness and futility of what people deem ‘therapy’…I am with Alice and we are planning our escape. Which is probably why I am still in therapy.. And of course in mental health, misadventure has a whole different meaning.

My bare bones
Rattle in the bushes of the empty night

Thought drops
Rain drops
Hail drops
Pin drops
Never stops

You don't need to pack a bag for a misadventure silly

Like Dinah
Like me
Like Dorothy 

You just close your eyes and jump

The bag is empty Alice
And my eyes will never shut

It is there just in case
You know
There is a carcass or a wish to carry

The car park floor slashes our knees
We have been sitting still for one hour
Holding a phone with no one at the end

I am a concrete person
With a jello soul
Guarded and geeked

No wicked for the rest 
She chuckles

I'd rather sleep towards the sun today
Cutting up other peoples stories and making them my own

This will never end will it
Not until you jump
She fingers the frayed edges
wishing wishing wishing 

My bare bones
Rattle in the bushes of the empty night

Thought drops
Rain drops
Hail drops
Pin drops
Never stops.

Sherry: I so loved this poem when you posted it, and adore it still.

Jae Rose: This one stems from a darker place..of addiction..of feeling there’s no way out, but as long as you are writing you are finding a way past, if not out. 

It all seems such an ordinary affair
White bag
Grey slippers
Little yellows tucked inside
Marigolds and buttercups
Compound powder sun
Drowns out sound
Blisses us past irritation
Deep into jumble dreams
Silver sweet runs through my toes
Soft hands brush my face
Afternoon passes by the window

I am so tired

Clean the doors
Tidy the floors
Hem the curtains 
Neat as skin 

fit pop blast

Is this tea
Sniffs Alice
It hardly meets my appetite

I pull packets from the cupboards
Yellows and blues fall like cherry drops

Yellow ready
Green go
Red stop

Red is the signal we would like to disclose

The sky is stirred in a china cup
Purple and blue that time forgot
We see the last lights last rights
Fall heavy on our sheets

Head slows 
We will not let it stop
Electricity busy as stars waving in the night
Always work to do

It all seems such an ordinary affair
Sacred threads and marigolds
Drifting through our head

Sherry: I so love "the sky is stirred in a china cup" and "sacred threads and marigolds drifting through our head." And I can feel the tiredness. Poignant and beautiful, Jae Rose. And I want that blue sky cup!!!!

I am curious,  how does a poem happen for you? Do you start with an idea, a prompt, a word, a phrase, or do your poems come from inspired phrases that travel through your mind and suddenly you know a poem is being born? Or all of those ways? (I am curious, because mine come all of those ways. I wonder if it is the same for us all.)

Jae Rose: I suppose a bit like the cut up technique. I collect words..signs..phrases..ideas…put them down shuffle them up try and make a story. I write quite quickly - although I am spending longer than I used to to try and make it feel right. Almost hear it. I suppose I have recurring themes and characters, so it has become a world that perhaps has a progression that people who visit frequently see. I look forward to blog days. Sometimes it comes quickly and that feels more natural and perhaps more accessible? When I am in a slump they get longer and drag on and I don’t think I could even read them, so thanks to those who do.

Sherry: Oh, we'll keep reading. We wouldn't miss a word! I have wondered, as your work feels so utterly inspired. Book that had the biggest impact on you? 

Jae Rose: Kafka, but mainly because I picked up on his…getting lost in corridors..I think that has echoed through my life, particularly times spent in hospital. I truly understand what kafkaesque means now.

I didn’t read the classic children’s books - Alice in Wonderland..The Wizard of Oz - until quite recently. 

Sir John Tenniel's drawing 
for the first edition of the Lewis Carroll classic

Alice particularly fascinates me - she was a little girl trapped in an old man’s fantasy, yet it was called an adventure. This for me resonates on many levels. In terms of being powerless and trapped in hospital with no keys that fit and potions that make you feel small…people who want to chop your head off. It’s quite a terrifying misadventure, really. 

Sherry: Yes. It is. I love finding Alice in so many of your poems.

Jae Rose: Writers I admire are Chuck Palahniuk… and James Frey. Chuck because how and what he wrote seemed revolutionary and fearless. The underbelly of life that we all know but try and edit and sanitize. James Frey because he mixed life story and fantasy, and I find that interesting. When you aren’t completely in your head, there is no real line between the two, so in a way it was probably a really accurate account of addiction, despite the controversy. 

Sherry: I felt that, too, that he was not consciously trying to deceive people, it was his blurred reality and true, on some level, for him. He got a lot of backlash for it though, as many people do not understand addiction. His writing is marvelous, definitely.

William S. Buroughs

Jae Rose: A photo of William S. Burroughs sits beside my desk. Just write. Get it out. You hate life. You hate people. You hate yourself. But you write it out. As a person with an addictive personality, I can identify and admire just how he wrote. Never stop writing. It can keep you alive. Maybe even turn existence into living. 

Although it can kill the people around you - which is not so admirable.

Mainly he was a cantankerous old bugger who lived how he wanted, said what he wanted and survived to a ripe old age. Essentially he chose life. On his terms. 

Sherry: Oh, how I am enjoying this conversation! Book you are reading right now?

Jae Rose: I would like to say something erudite but Finn FamilyMoomintroll is my little comfort blanket right now. 

Sherry: I love it! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us that I don’t know you well enough to ask?
Jae Rose: I turned forty recently. I never thought I would make 40. Or 30. Or 20. Here is my sister. She loves me for who I am. That is the greatest gift anyone can ask for.

This is us - Me on the left..

Sherry: We are very glad you made it to 40, and are here with us, sharing the gift of yourself. Bless your sister, for being there for you. And 40. I remember 40. It was the beginning of Everything Wonderful that came after. May it be so for you. Anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Jae Rose: Thank you for hearing me (in the words of Sinead) - your support, acceptance and willingness to read whatever I churn out never ceases to amaze me. Thank you.

Sherry: Thank you, Jae Rose, for allowing us to get to know you better, and for your trust in sharing your journey with us. Your life informs your poetry,which is so brilliant and original I always come away amazed.  Thank you for gracing Poets United with your presence and with your extraordinary poetry.

Well, kids?  Each week I think, this one is the best of all. How can I possibly top this? And each week, because each of you is so wonderful and has such an amazing story, I do! I love Jae Rose, don't you? Do come back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Jai Rose, I really like "Jump"
    I am a concrete person
    With a jello soul... you have a real talent with words and putting them together in the most interesting ways. Thank you for the interview. It is nice to learn more about you and your writing. I look forward to reading more.

    Thanks Sherry for a wonderful interview and with a delightful interviewee : )

  2. Oh how I love Jae and the work she produces. A talent like hers is so very rare. Thank you, Sherry, for shining the spotlight on her unique and amazing voice.

    1. Thanks Kim - for once not an escape line being shone at my retreating back

  3. ... 'thank you for hearing me' ~ we are most grateful for the gift of your words, thank you. I have visited your country many times ... Devon has always been my favorite spot.

  4. Hi Jae Rose! I've been so curious about you! Thanks for doing the interview (and thank you, too, Sherry). I'm moved by your writing and now I see why. Your experience of life is unique and words are key to survival. Happy 40th birthday. You look lots younger in these pictures. Finally, thank you for being an early bird at Midweek Motif. I look forward to your poems each week.

    1. I feel much older! - but thank you Susan...look forward to tomorrow's prompt

  5. Oh, how good to read about Jae! I love the interview, and love the choice of poems, it would be hard to choise a fav! I love them all, she doesn't have a 'bad' one in her!

    Thank you Sherry and Jae!

    1. Thanks Annell - I think there are probably some dubious ones tucked in over the years ;)

  6. Great to read about Jae and just love her poems ! Nice interview... :-)

  7. Jae and I have been commenting on each others work for nearly five years. She has made me laugh and also to cry. I love that she has included the "Truth" sculpture to show perhaps how being herself has been such a battle for her.

    1. Thank you Old Egg...hadn't thought of Verity as such...maybe so...father five years you must know me pretty well by now

  8. Thanks Sherry for the lovely interview ~ I have always been curious about Jae as her verses are superb in terms of capturing raw emotions ~

    Jae, a pleasure to get know more of your life and happy 40th year ~ I assure you that 40 is very young, smiles ~

    1. Thank you Grace...I hope I discover that before 41 arrives ;)

  9. Hello Jae,

    I have seen you around the blogland and have read some of your work. Thank you for sharing your journey and I wonder where I might fight that cloud tea cup, that is so dreamy.

    1. It is dreamy...maybe it exists out there in the otherworld - thanks!

  10. Jae Rose, how wonderful to learn more about you. I always enjoy the unique style of your poetry and your references to Alice. Smiles. I was happy to learn a bit about how you write as well as a bit about your life experiences. 40 is the beginning of life, Jae. I look forward to many more poems from you....keep writing. Great interview once more, Sherry.

    1. Thank you Mary...smiles back from me and Alice xo

  11. Another great interview, Sherry.

    I will have to find Jae. I like the way she thinks and want to tell her happy birthday.

  12. I am so happy, Jae, that you said yes to the interview. Your work is unique and amazing, you are very talented, and I look forward to reading your poetry through the years to come I just knew everyone would enjoy getting to know you better. Thanks for saying yes!

  13. What a delightful interview! I love Jae and her poems, and I'm so glad this interview happened. All that's missing is a Photoshop if the two of you chatting over tea...

  14. Thank you for the interview, Jae. I enjoyed knowing more about you. I visited Devon about twenty years ago and thought it was a beautiful and very atmospheric place. I like your unique voice in the poetry blogosphere and how supportive you are of other poets. Sherry, as always, you did a great job!

  15. Well honestly...You are full of surprises. How brave of you to do this. Better than I could manage:)

    Also, you are very courageous Jae in the way you have handled your trials and tribulations with the mental health service I do admire you for this

    . Firstly I would like to thank you for your support over the years and particularly when I come up for my biannual clobbering session. You have often been the only one who had a kind encouraging word to say and for this I am forever grateful

    I wont pretend to understand your elaborate but beautifully imaged poems. Some of them have understandably been very bleak in the past ..but invaluable as a mirror to what happens at cold comfort farm and others I crack up with laughter at ( but am never sure if this is acceptable because it may not have been your intention and bedsides I tend to see the funny side in everything...yes am odd too :) I am glad you included the rattling in the bushes poem. I love that one!

    Stevie Smith is a favourite of mine too. I wrote a poem about her poem "Drowning Not Waving." a while back. .She had a lovely sense of dark humour but without the muck black or mud vicious. She used to drink a glass of sherry with her Aunty in the afternoon..I sort of imagine you and your lovely sister have that kind of relationship...maybe minus the sherry...who drinks sherry now?

    For some reason you always evoke a spiel from me...because I feel comfortable with you I must fly ...cheery bye and toodle pips...btw good hair but disappointed there are no blue mauve streaks with maybe a few chopsticks for enhancement :)

    1. No we'd take the sherry - and give your too...and please do anything xo

  16. Jae is so unique voice...and I am so resonate with her notion about stumbling of unknown words earlier in life, where I am now with my eternal process of learning words...
    How nice to hear your voice and see the photo in an interview with Sherry. Thanks for sharing with us, Jae and Sherry!

  17. It was truly my pleasure, my friends. I am so happy you liked it.

  18. Thank you Sherry and Jae for this lively chat...It's really nice to get to know more about you Jae..a very happy 40th birthday...enjoy your creative life....

  19. Thank you all ever so much - I really feel like I have been hugged and wished the best by my online family...thank you xo

  20. gracias Jae. you live in your world and i in mine. living in mine it's so vast, it's so expansive. i hope yours to be the same. some have traveled much but have seen, oberved or witnessed little. in reading your words, in that small space where your words are written, you travel greatly and when i read them you take farther and further than i would have been. i wish nothing but the grandest of experiences in your next 40yr. sojourn. gracias for your words and inspiration

    gracias mi amiga, Sherry, for re-introducing Jae in a more personal way. i do follow Jae Rose

  21. What a fantastic interview. I've enjoyed Jae's writing so much. it's so creative and has a very unique quality. I'm so glad you write Jae. it's a gift for us. For me, 40 was a lifeturning age - all for the better. I have a feeling it will happen for you too.

  22. Poetry has that healing effect and it soothes our heart. Mice to know about you:)

  23. The world is full of amazingly talented brave people. Thank you Sherry for your brilliant interviews - Jae it is a pleasure knowing you and about your life and writing life. 'Writing has a power that heals' May Allah bless you with the best always amen

  24. What a wonderful interview, Sherry!!

    Jae, thank you for sharing yourself and letting us all get to know you :) Your writing is beautifully brilliant!!!

  25. Great to see a bit of the person behind the poems.

  26. Jae, i think you are an incredibly brave person, given what you have gone through. and i do agree with what you said about "magic can be found in words scrawled on walls or happened upon in random books or papers"
    though i do not read much of your poetry in the past, i guess i may have to make more visits in the future. :)

    i really enjoyed reading this interview.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment dsnake come along whenever you want!

  27. How wonderfully delightfully odd you are, my dear. So glad to have found you, you stand out from all the rest, I came back to read again your interview, thank you so much! And thank you Sherry I loved it! Casting light, and helping all who love her work, know her, she is a real person. A lovable person. A rare person. One of my favorite interviews!

    1. Thank you you are making me teary xo

  28. I come very late to this (it's been such an 'otherwise occupied' year for me) after reading Jae's latest poem. Great read — the latest poem, and all the poems, and also this interview.

    1. Thank you Rosemary - and besides we would probably be late for our own tea party ;)

  29. I now I am late getting here, but so glad I made it. Such a wonderful interview Sherry and Jae! It is wonderful to learn more you Jae. Your writing is truly inspiring!! It is brave, raw, and amazing....I look forward to hearing your voice in the blogosphere for years to come!


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