Name: Jennifer Jackson Berry
Hometown & Current City: Pittsburgh, PA
Occupation: Claims Adjuster, Poet, and Editor
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry has saved me. When life took turns that I didn't expect and when those turns left me unable to verbalize my emotions, I turned to the page. When someone tells me that one of my poems has helped them, I am so profoundly honored and so deeply happy. When I find a poem that helps me, I am indebted to that poet.
A Favorite Poem:
"I'll Write the GIrl" by Jan Beatty
Why do you like this poem?
Jan Beatty is an amazing mentor, a generous spirit, and a powerhouse poet. This poem speaks to me because I lost my way in the poetry world for a long time. I didn't write anything for nearly ten years after completing my MFA back in 2002. I didn't know how to be a poet if I wasn't going to be in the academy as a professor/teacher. I didn't think that what I was writing about was important, was high-art enough. I started writing again and found the Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops, which are workshops for students and community writers that are small, supportive, and intergenerational. I found friendships, support, and validation. I learned that I'll always write the girl, too, and that my voice is important when I'm writing about her.