I recently published a chapbook of my own original poetry called Invisible Hope: poetry for ragamuffins, and it’s available for purchase at Blurb.com.
What is the primary purpose of your work?
Poetry helps me explore things that are too wild to capture in essay form, either because they’re intensely personal, or because I’m still figuring out how I feel and what I want to say. Poetry is also the form of writing that I feel most free in, where I don’t have to build an argument, tell a complete story, or come to a formal conclusion. Instead I’m just trying to find the words and sounds that best communicate the emotions and experience I want to describe. I don’t write poems very often, so the twenty-three in this collection are the best of what I’ve accumulated over the past ten years. And, practically speaking, putting together this book was a relatively easy, low-risk way for me to try out self-publishing.
How do you hope your work helps your audience flourish?
I hope my words provide moments of hope, clarity, and communion to my readers—with Christ and with other saints like me.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work thus far?
My biggest challenge in writing anything is believing that my voice matters. There are so many other writers who are more qualified, more educated, and smarter than me; and I have a hard time convincing myself that anyone would be interested in what I have to say.
What are you working on now that you hope to offer up soon?
I finished writing my first book last April. It's called Good Grief: A Pilgrimage Toward Hope. It’s a memoir about the value of grief in the life of a Christian. I spent much of last year looking for an agent or a publisher, but I haven’t found one yet, so I'm currently thinking about publishing it myself, like I did the poetry book. However, I’m still looking to work with an editor, so I don’t think it’ll be available until much later in 2020.
Where can those new to your work find you online?
New readers can visit my website: JannaBarber.com, or find me on Facebook
Lastly, Janna gave me (Rusty) permission to share a poem of my choosing from her collection. I'll share one which came to me on a day which I was feeling my mortality due to an injury. When I read it, it struck me in a certain kind of way. I'll share below:
Slow, Slow. Quick Quick. Fade.
when I lay my head beside your sleeping face
my breath stops short
caught in the stillness of the moment
and the fear of everlasting: a night without you.
Time's turner flips my stomach--
violent and unrelenting.
How can we have loved so liong,
when it was only yesterday
that your hand first squeezed mine,
in the dark theater where two seats were too far apart?
How did those young ones end up where
in a house with three budding children
and a single name for us all?
I swear, I swear, I swear
I just blinked once
before we both began to gray.
Go purchase Invisible Hope: poetry for ragamuffins and enjoy some more of Janna's work!