Poet and Professor Edison Jennings is featured in A! Magazine for the Arts in the March 26 issue. The write-up by editor Leslie Grace is about Jennings’ early inspiration to write and his recently published poetry manuscripts. The article, “Edison Jennings delights in poetry and teaching,” is excerpted below:
The python’s manners are quite crude.
It squeezes its prey and gulps its food.
Edison Jennings says he was “6, maybe 7, when I wrote that masterpiece. I wrote it just to entertain myself and maybe show off to my parents. They weren’t all that impressed.”
Their initial reaction to his childhood poem didn’t stop Jennings from continuing to express himself and search for meaning through his poetry.
“I’m not sure why I focus so much on poetry,” he says. “I guess I like the density, the wit, and the figuration of poetry. And the way it sounds-primarily the way it sounds. I write poetry in rhymed, blank and free verse. With rhymed verse, I usually fool around with ballads and sonnets, though I have been known to mangle terza rima (an arrangement of triplets that rhyme aba, bcb, cdc, etc.) from time to time. Most of my poems, though, have been free verse.”
He says that poetry delights him and reminds him of who he is and says “those two answers are not as self-centered as they might seem.”
Jennings uses his poetry to try to come to terms with the conflict between beauty and suffering and to explore other concepts familiar to everyone: loss, gain, triumph, defeat, joy, suffering, love and loneliness.
“The world is both beautiful and cruel; living things suffer and die in the midst of unspeakable magnificence. How to come to terms with that? I don’t know. Maybe poetry might offer a clue?”