Jhazzmyn Jhane Joiner
Jhane has a B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communication. She has self-published a poetry book, Compositions: Sinking, Floating, Sailing, and been published in Wren's Nest, Blood Moon Journal, and more. Keep up with her @quotedbyjhane on IG.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
Hi, my name is Jhazzmyn. My pen name is Jhane, which is my middle name. I'm a 24-year-old (as of today) poet. I was born in Las Vegas, but I currently reside in Atlanta. I always get the most interesting questions about growing up in Las Vegas! I have always been a writer when I think about it. I write songs and short stories, and short screenplays. I love the challenge of stringing words, sentences, and thoughts together. I say that writing a song is basically like writing poetry. So, if we count that, I've been writing lyrical poetry since I could write.
I started writing other kinds of poetry in high school. I wrote a poem for a No Place for Hate Contest hosted by Kennesaw State University during my junior year of high school. I still kind of pursued poetry passively until 2020. This has been my pandemic hobby. I went through a really difficult time following graduating during the pandemic and not being able to find work and some other things. So, I went to therapy and also turned to poetry as another form of therapy. I followed in the footsteps of one of my best friends and created a poetry Instagram page. Since then, I've found a thriving and supportive community of writers. I have no regrets. It's been one of the best things to happen to me, and I have found many opportunities because of my poetry page and the people I've met along the way.
What themes or ideas are you exploring in your poetry?
I explore love and heartbreak a lot in my poems. I also speak on the topic of growth. These are some of the themes of my life right now, and they have been in the past. I think there's beauty in the cycle of life and how experiences shape us. We grow from love. We grow from pain. I like being able to talk about my experiences. I find, often, that there are others who have been through the same things.
What does it mean to you to be a poet in today's world?
Being a poet is very vulnerable. People see what you feel through the words that you write. I find absolute strength in being able to share what's on my heart with others. Also, because of technology, I get to meet other poets all over the world daily. I love connecting and collaborating. There's also a lot of room for poetry to intersect with other things, like academics, music, art, etc. It's amazing to see how poetry fits into so many spaces. It's being celebrated and used in creative ways. I'm glad to be a part of something like this.
What are you enjoying the most, and what do you find challenging about writing?
What I'm enjoying the most about writing is honing my skills as a writer and poet. I have seen so much growth in myself. I used to think this poetry was all about rhyming, and now I'm playing with form, description, length, etc. I'm always so surprised when I look at some of my older work and see how far I've come. I'm also enjoying meeting people and coming across different opportunities. I said this previously, but I meant it. I meet some wonderful, supportive poets who I also call friends.
What I find the most challenging about writing is not getting inside of my head or comparing myself to others. I want to stay very true to myself and my work, which means reading, appreciating, and supporting others while also acknowledging my shine. It's also very difficult to receive rejections. I submit poetry to contents, anthologies, and the like. When I get turned down, it hurts, but I have to remember that art is subjective. Someone may not feel that my work is a good fit for their project, but someone else could love it. So, it's all about perspective.
Can you tell us a bit about your recently published poetry book, Compositions: Sinking, Floating, Sailing?
Compositions is a book with three sections. The first section, sinking, talks about negative feelings of injustice and depression. Floating is the second section. It deals with love and heartbreak. Sailing, the final section, talks about growth, hope, and other positive feelings.
This collection of poems was a labour of love because I listened to others who allowed me to share their stories and put their stories into poetry, and I also drew from my own experiences. So, there was some research and interviewing involved, which was most fascinating and, at times, difficult.
I was very proud by the end of writing that because, again, I got to see my growth and how far I'd come. I've received positive feedback on it.
You have a B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communication, are now due to finish your M.A. in Gerontology, have maintained a rich volunteer activity, and started your own foundation. How does all this combined experience relate to your writing?
It's still hard to believe that I'm nearing the end of my master's degree because I feel like I've been at it forever. Well, I would say that all of these things have required a lot of writing. While not all of the writing has been creative, I think it has made me a better writer. I have strengthened my abilities in many different kinds of writing. I think they also help me to create poetry because I can utilize these experiences as themes or topics of my poetry. Also, I mentioned that poetry intersects with other things. For example, I wrote a poem for a contest at my university on my experience with COVID and how that tied into academics and social injustice. That really stretched me as a writer because it forced me to bring in so many different incidents and tie them together.
Do you actively search for inspiration or wait for inspiration to find you? What's the most peculiar thing/situation that sparked your inspiration?
Great question. A little bit of both. I find that I am struck with inspiration at random moments. It could be people, nature, something I see on a walk. However, there are also times when I feel blocked. In those moments, I try to get outdoors or do something spontaneous and new. That usually gets my creative juices flowing. Also, certain prompts can inspire me by calling me back to a certain time or making me think about a concept in an unusual way.
The second half of this question is so good. I am drawing a blank. I don't recall having any peculiar situations occur that sparked inspiration. I will probably think of something down the road that would have been a good answer. However, I do enjoy writing with my grandmother. We used to write frequently, taking turns picking prompts and sharing what we had written. I wrote really bad pieces, but I also wrote some of my best pieces in those times.
What writers(s)/poet(s) do you admire?
I am currently reading Amanda Gorman's new book, Call Us What We Carry, and I must say that she is brilliant. I admire her a great deal. I also love Rupi Kaur and Reyna Biddy. These are some of my favourite modern-day poets. I liked reading Edgar Allan Poe in high school, and I still go back to his work often. Phantom of Delight by William Wordsworth is one of my all-time favourite poems.
As for writers in general, I love Kristin Rockaway's books. I have all of her books (and they are all page-turners. She has such a way of bringing a story together. I always find myself wishing that I could tie a story together as effortlessly as she does. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab, is a favourite from last year. It's a long book, but I was impressed with her writing and want to read more. Dana Delany, one of my favourite actresses, is also a phenomenal writer. She never ceases to amaze me with her breadth of talents and knowledge. Her article on Ms. Gloria Grahame in NOIR CITY Magazine was informational and intriguing.
How do you relax and recharge?
I need to do a better job of relaxing and recharging! When I do, I like to go on walks, spend time with family and/or friends, travel, catch up on shows, read, or do some spa day kind of activities.
In an ideal world where money and time are not a constraint, what is your dream project?
I could write all day long. So, any kind of project where I could do some creative writing would be alright with me. I'd love to produce a series or movie. I would want to do some of the screenwriting and producing. It's exciting to have something on paper and then to see it come to life.
Tell us about the future: plans, dreams, anything you'd like to share with the world.
What a great question. As much as I try and plan for the future, I find that things seldom go as planned. I hope to write another book in the future. However, at this time, I am working on some music and trying to get back into the swing of that.
I have started doing some freelance work creating poems for people to give to their loved ones or keep for themselves. It's been really fun to work with people on these special, timeless pieces.
I'd also love to travel more eventually. For now, I'm going to keep writing and interacting with other poets on Instagram. I'm going to keep enjoying the beauty of each day!
I thank you for the interview. I thank everyone who supports me and who will take the time to read about me in this interview.