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Interview With Poet Jennifer C. Wolfe

I recently reviewed Somewhere Over the Pachyderm Rainbow: Living in an Elephant-Controlled 2010 Election Diorama by Jennifer C. Wolfe this week.  And I’ve had the delightful opportunity to ask the poet some questions about her collection and how it came to be.

Please welcome Jennifer:

1.  First, do you consider yourself a Democrat and how far do you lean to the left?  If not, what is your party affiliation and why?

I do not consider myself a Democrat.  I am officially registered as an “Independent” voter.  I do lean a bit left of center in some political areas, while a bit right of center on others.  I enjoy my official designation as an Independent, because I do not want to be tied down to any one party or party outlook.


2.  How long did it take you to amass this amount of poetry for a collection about the 2010 elections and the world it created in the United States?

It took me about three months to amass the amount of poetry for this collection; and the better part of a year, to bring it to print publishing fruition.  Whenever I needed to find new material, all I had to do was to either turn on CNN or FOX NEWS and soon my blood was boiling and my computer keyboard was frenetically being typed upon.

3.  Did you intend for these poems to read more like a diatribe against Republicans only or did you have a larger goal in mind?  And do you think you achieved your goal?

I primarily wanted the poems to read like a satirical diatribe against GOP dominance and arrogance, post Election 2010.  I also wanted it to have the larger goal of focusing scrutiny on every GOP platform and party officials I feel strongly about, including the Republicans’ meddling stepchild, the Tea Party.  The (so-called) “Grand Old Party” is not so grand; and I wanted this aspect to come through.  I do think I achieved my goal; although some readers might mistake some of my satirical material for straight criticism.


4.  How long have you considered yourself a poet and do your poems’ subjects always center on politics?  If so, what keeps you interested in politics to write about it consistently, especially given the apparent apathy inherent in American society with regard to elections?

I have always written poetry; however, I have considered myself a serious poet since 2008, when I earned my very first poetry credential—a poem “If” included within the Century College, White Bear Lake, MN literary magazine, Student Lounge.  I have had three political poetry eBooks published with BlazeVox Books, New York: Kick the Stones: Everyday Hegemony, Empire, and Disillusionment, October, 2008; Yukon Rumination: Great Fun for All in the Land of Sarah Palin’s Joe Sixpack Alaska, June, 2009; and Healing, Optimism, and Polarization, February, 2010, in addition to Somewhere Over the Pachyderm Rainbow: Living in an Elephant-Controlled 2010 Election Diorama.

What keeps me interested in consistently writing about politics is the fact that I feel I have something important to say.  My goal is to dissuade the apathy in American society with regard to elections.  That and to present political opinions that are from my heart.  I also have written non-political poetry, addressing everyday life scenarios.

5.  When writing poetry, prose, essays, and other works do you listen to music, do you have a particular playlist for each genre you work in or does the playlist stay the same? What are the top 5 songs on that playlist? If you don’t listen to music while writing, do you have any other routines or habits?

I do sometimes listen to music when I write, and when I do, the playlist is often as eclectic as the writing being undertaken.  I am mainly a rock, alternative rock, and heavy metal listener; and songs from all of these musical realms come into play.  I also listen to varied cable news TV channels, when I write on politics—searching for that tidbit of information or a concentrated story that will focus my thoughts.


6.  Do you see spoken word, performance, or written poetry as more powerful or powerful in different ways and why? Also, do you believe that writing can be an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant or collaborative? Why or why not?

I see spoken word, performance, and written poetry as equally powerful mediums, in different ways.  Spoken word has a tremendous “go with the moment” mentality and it inspires with its often contagious enthusiasm.  Performance hones an individual’s poetry reading skills in a ways that make the words on the page come alive; while written poetry helps to define and clarify poetic aspirations in a private setting between the reader and the poetry being read.  I do believe writing can serve as an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant and/or collaborative, because when an individual reads a story or a poem which becomes profound to them; it can often alter their mindset or attitude.


7.  What current projects are you working on and would you like to share some details with the readers?

Currently, I am working on a fictional novel entitled Far Beyond Driven that is part of a trilogy centering on a primary antagonist who works in intelligence.  The last book in the trilogy, The Five Words, was completed first and is currently being represented by Ms. Tracy Brennan of Trace Literary Agency.  The Five Words centers upon five friends and a five worded Internet prank gone awry to Homeland Security, told primarily in flashback by one of the friends who is testifying before a U.S. Senate Select Committee, looking into DHS civil liberties abuses.  Far Beyond Driven is the second book of the trilogy, as I work my way backward to the first novel, Fade Into Black.  All three novels tell the story of intelligence operative, Mark Graham and his psychological descent (spawned by personal tragedy) into an abusive monster, with too much U.S. “War on Terror” power in his hands.  All three works will be represented by Trace Literary Agency.  In addition, I also have completed an everyday life poetry manuscript, Reach for the Words, and am mulling the concept for a new non-political poetry manuscript, The Pain Behind the Smile.

Thanks, Jennifer, for answering my questions and for a highly discussable collection.

I would like to point out that Pantera, a heavy metal band, had an album called Far Beyond Driven; Perhaps she was inspired by their music one day when she was writing.

  • This is a fantastic interview! I think I am going to have to get this book and keep it on my coffee table. It will be a great conversation starter to get under the skin of my conservative family members.

  • Great interview! So many of Wolfe’s answers really jumped to me — I esp loved her statement “…writing can serve as an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant and/or collaborative.” Lovely! And true! And a hope of mine as well. Thanks to you both for sharing this!

  • Sounds like she’s very busy! I think it’s great that she’s trying to combat the apathy regarding election. I think apathy is responsible for many of the problems we’re facing now.

    • I like when people take on the apathy in this country. It is something that I deeply care about changing. We need more active citizens!