Writer, world traveler and motivator are just a few words to describe the talented Jennifer Poe. The New York native started her love for writing as soon as a pencil was placed in her tiny fingers. She officially launched her artistic career as an underground writer and poet on the Lower East Side.
In 2006, New York magazine nominated her as one of the top twenty-seven people under the age of twenty-six to be famous by 2010, and profiled her again in December 2010 in an update article. Her writing has been published in various publications such as Clutch magazine, Beyondblackwhite.com,American Airlines, Black Atlas and in an anthology made up of young women authors titled We Got Issues.
She is a worldwide traveler who’s been to Paris, England, Amsterdam, Uruguay, Brazil and lived in Buenos Aires and Argentina. Jennifer chronicled her experience living as a black woman in Buenos Aires in a travel narrative titled Hola, Morocha: Black Girl’s Guide to Buenos Aires and is currently working hard to bring Hola, Morocha into the world and hands of her readers. She has since founded a travel brand to promote travel among women of color, Imported Chocolate.
What first inspired you to start writing and turn your passion into your full time career?
I’m still working to turn writing into a full-time career, but even if I couldn’t do it full-time I would never stop. Writing is a necessity for me. When I’m not writing I feel physically sick or moody. As for what inspired me, I can’t remember because I’ve been doing it for so long. Literally, from the first time I learned how to. I would fill notebooks with short stories and cut pictures out of magazines (because I couldn’t draw) and paste them in the notebook to accompany my words. I just always felt that writing is what I was put on this earth to do.
You’ve been to Paris, England, Amsterdam, Uruguay, Brazil and lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, why was it important for you as a writer to explore different cultures?
I feel it’s important for me as a writer to explore different cultures because I believe it builds a writer’s word bank and provides more experiences to write about. You expose yourself to different people and new ways of doing and seeing things when you travel and this can only enhance your writing ability, because travel also exposes you to many different voices and voice is a very important thing to master as a writer.
Being a young but experienced writer what’s one of the most valuable lesson you’ve learned working in the field?
The most valuable lesson I learned was to put myself out there and promote my work, which is hard for me because I am an introvert. Promotion is something most writers dread. Writer’s rather spend their time writing. But it is also important to let the world know our writing exists and is out there. So I’ve been picking up a few simple marketing skills and I make it my business to know about different aspects of the publishing industry. I also learned as a writer you need to read as much as you are writing.
How do you use your talent of writing to give back?
The first piece of writing I ever wrote to raise awareness for something was a poem/PSA I wrote for Trayvon Martin. It was the first situation to move me so strongly that it forced a poem out of me, but I am certain it won’t be the last. You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DxRX-Q5eLc
What is your ultimate goal that you plan to reach in your lifetime?
The ultimate goal that I plan to reach in my lifetime is to produce a body of published work both in the genres of fiction and non-fiction, and to leave a writing legacy behind.
What advice would you give to young writers trying to tap into the competitive field of writing?
The advice I would give to young writers is to not worry about the competition. No one voice is the same and no one can write your story the way you can. Focus on your craft. Focus on your story. Only write what you would want to read. Try to be as original as possible so that people won’t forget you or your work. Don’t limit yourself to one genre, experiment with different forms of writing. When you’re in public pay attention to what goes on around you. Listen to voice. Last, but certainly not least, read! Read! Read!
What makes you a Styleaholic???
I dress to the beat of my own drum. Lol! When choosing an item of clothing I always ask myself “What’s the probability I will see someone walking down the street in this?” I always try to go with style that won’t blend me in completely with the masses. At least one item on me has to stand out. I like to be unique.
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