Spotlight On Writers
- Where, do you hail from?
I was born and raised in Northern New Brunswick, Canada. I have lived all over North America but Restigouche County will always be home, and it is the place I identify with most, the place that shaped me. (I currently live on Prince Edward Island.)
- What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The natural beauty is stunning. Restigouche County in northern NB is the best kept secret in Atlantic Canada. The Bay of Chaleur is a member of The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, and it will only take one look for you to realize why. A close second would be the incredibly friendly, welcoming people.
- What turns you on creatively?
Natural beauty is the inspiration for many of my poems. Throughout my life I have had these little epiphanies where everything seems, for one brief moment, to make sense, and everything seems connected, time, space, life, death, God, nature, mankind; all connected. They (these moments) have usually been triggered by something in nature, although not always. It is the most beautiful feeling in the world. Van Gogh said it best, “I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.”
I tried to describe that feeling in a poem called The Ecstasy of One
- What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
I have never considered that I might have a favourite word, other than “supper,” but my favourite subject seems to be the moon. I find that I can write about it endlessly and that there are a million ways to describe it. I touched on this in my poem, A Thousand Ways to Love the Careless Moon. Most recently, just a couple of days ago, I wrote this. (It does not actually use the world “moon”)
The Altar of That Dome
I saw her shallow breathing
On the surface of the pond
Where black, mercurial ripples
Made her shiver in the night
The evening’s lonely mistress
Aching for the climax
Of her slow, solo ascent
And through the blackened branches
Of those kamakura trees
Her swollen body, prostrate
Lay upon the purple sky
Obscured by cirrus wisps
Her skin all marmalade and toast
And a halo made in heaven
Of sweet strawberry blond
Her tender, sweating body
Smelled like beach sand in August
Trickling through my hands
She said, “Come with me
For I am pure and I am light
And I would yet caress you
On this precious, fleeting night”
“No, I cannot look upon you”
Said I, “With just two eyes
For you fill them with such longing
As you make the evening rise”
And so I left her standing
On the altar of that dome
And turned to trace the darkened path
Where aching hearts do roam
- What is your pet peeve?
Aside from Donald Trump? I would have to say, and I should preface this by admitting that no one knows less about poetry than me, that I find poems that are deliberately cryptic to the point that on one knows what the hell they are about, drive me crazy. Poetry, for me, should be an arrow to the heart. It is the briefest method of written communication, and, I think, most of it is intended to communicate emotion. So why can’t a good poem just speak plainly? Why does it have to be dressed up in such a way as to obscure its meaning? Did Shakespeare have to dress up this absolutely perfect line to make you remember it forever after just one reading?
“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.”
I have never studied music, and yet a good song can tear my heart out, and leave me wondering about my own life, my own struggles and where I am going. I think that this kind of reaction is pretty much universal, which is why music is the most popular art form. And I have never really studied art either, at least not formally, but when I walk into a room full of Renoirs the tears stream down my face and every hair on my body stands up. That is because great music and great (visual) art are often visceral. I think poetry can be the same. I think, if you tap into your deepest feelings, and can somehow put them into the breast of another human being, your poetry can have the same effect.
- What defines Bob Jensen?
As a writer? I don’t know. I think that overall, in a general sense, what I am trying to do when I write poetry is to share ideas and feelings that I experience profoundly. Everything is so fleeting about life. These epiphanies we all have, these feelings, it seems a shame to have them just go into the ether. And so that, I believe, is what every painter, every musician, every writer, is trying to do. We all want, in our own meager way, to share those moments, because they are at the core of who and what we are, and we want to preserve them. They are, at the end of the day, the most important things between the cradle and the grave.
He currently resides in Prince Edward Island, Canada where he works as a booking agent for folk musicians from around the world.
His award winning novel, The Matchbox Funeral, is available on Amazon.