An Interview with Jordan Redekop-Jones

JORDAN REDEKOP-JONES is a mixed-Indigenous writer from Vancouver BC. She is an English student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she was shortlisted for the JoAnne Ward Creative Writing Award. As well, she has work in Canthius. Growing up, Jordan spent most of her time travelling the world, which she hopes to write more about one day. Currently, she lives in Vancouver BC with her family and her mini goldendoodle India. 

You can read her poem,  a list for you, in the April 2023 issue.

Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your poem? For instance, how or why you wrote it, perhaps provide some extra context?
I wrote this poem a while back, at a time where I was just beginning to find my poetic voice. This piece expresses the impatience I was feeling in that moment, of being young and feeling relatively out of place. Listing a myriad of “what ifs” felt powerful and intentional.

Why was the poetic form the best fit for this particular piece of work?
At this point, I had not explored many different poetic forms. Looking back at this piece reminds me of why I fell in love with poetry in the first place. There are no rules or limitations to your creative voice, and it’s the best kind of free therapy. When I wrote this piece, I was at a crossroads in my life. This structure worked well for the feeling I was aiming to get across. The questioning, the doubting and the antagonizing solidify the times where we are on the brink of something spectacular and aren’t even aware of it yet.

Do you have a collection of poetry or even a single poem that acts as a touchstone?
I started writing poetry early on but barely ever read it. In high school I was introduced to Shakespeare which continued to fuel my love of poetry. When I got into university, I read the poetry collection Bone by Yrsa Daley Ward and that changed everything for me. Her work taught me the art of vulnerability, and the impact real and raw poetry can truly have on readers. Topaz Winters’ work also serves as a big inspiration for me. Their work pushes me to continue to explore the possibilities of metaphors and imagery.

If you didn’t write poetry, how do you think you might access the same fulfillments that poetry offers in your life?
I really can’t imagine my life without poetry. It has helped me navigate through difficult times and I am forever grateful for it. However, I enjoy writing in other forms and have always loved visual art, so perhaps that might have occupied a similar space if poetry had not been in the picture.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on my first chapbook. It is exciting to think that sometime (hopefully in the near future) I will have my poetry in book form out for the world to see. At the same time, it is also a little unnerving. I never thought about publishing my work until a couple years ago, but I am so grateful for this unexpected journey!

How or where or with what does a poem begin?
For me, poems often start with a feeling or a series of words that will erratically pop into my head during the day. I use poetry to work through difficult feelings, or as something to bear witness to significant events in my life. Poems are the markers from which I measure my life with. Even my most painful pieces remind me that beauty comes from our greatest challenges. 

Are there other art forms that inspire or inform your poetry?
Visual art, film, music, basically any form you can think of.

What are you reading or watching or listening to lately that intrigues or inspires you?
My schooling has been a big inspiration for me lately. The courses that have really impacted my writing are Diasporic Literatures, Cross-Cultural World Literature and Indigenous Studies. Taking these classes has given me time to reflect on my ancestry and themes of belonging, memory, identity, etc. 

Have you ever received advice (or has there been something you’ve learned on your own) about writing or revising poems that has made you a better poet? What was it?
I have received wonderful advice, especially from my poetry mentor Cassidy McFadzean. One thing in particular that struck a chord with me is when she said that “part of being a poet is developing your gut feelings”. That is something I really struggle with. I’ve had people tell me what my piece should be before, and following my intuition always helps me stay true to my vision. I am grateful for her wisdom and amazing guidance.

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