Jess Green is a renowned poet and playwright from Leicester. Every Thursday The Exchange welcomes her to our snug for her Over 55's Poetry Workshop. The lovely and talented Jess was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about her writing and her workshops. Want to know more? Then read on..
Hello Jess! How did you get into poetry and how long have you been doing it?
I've always written poems and stories since I was really little. I went to university in Liverpool and studied Creative Writing. It was while I was in Liverpool that I discovered performance poetry at open mics nights. When I moved back to Leicester in 2011 I began trying to make a living from poetry. It's been my full time job since 2014.
Where are you based?
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Leicester and when I finished college I didn't know what to do. Writing was the only thing I'd ever been any good at. I had no idea you could study it at university, I think it was my Mum who discovered the course. I went to John Moores in Liverpool for an open day and fell in love with the city and the university. Moving there to study was one of the best things I ever did and I was really sad to leave in 2011 but there just wasn't any work (too many universities churning out graduates for not enough jobs!).
I'm much more happy to be back in Leicester than I used to be. I've made a life for myself here and it's nice to be in the middle of the country as it makes it easier to get around for work!
Are you a full time poet?
By the skin of my teeth! I also write plays!
What does an average day look like for you?
I have three kinds of 'average day'.
Admin day - Emails, accounts, workshop planning.
Writing day - as it sounds.
Workshop/gig day - travelling to or from somewhere to do or having just done a workshop or a gig.
At the moment I'm doing NaPoWriMo - a poem a day for 30 days so every day is currently starting with desperate frustration.
Where do you get your inspiration for your writing?
Stuff in the news, conversations I overhear, music, books, photos, things I feel strongly about.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
The start and the end. I enjoy working on a new idea and I like seeing that come to fruition either through performing it myself or seeing it on stage. The editing bit is the most tedious when I want to bang my head against a wall repeatedly.
How long have you been delivering your Over 55's Poetry Workshop at The Exchange? And how often do they take place?
I think about 3 years. They're every Thursday morning 10.15am - midday. Open to anyone interested in writing poetry and the sessions cost £8. We're a very friendly bunch!
What is the highlight of your career?
Gah, I don't know. I'm terrible at this sort of question. I'm astonished every morning that I'm still getting away with doing this as a career at all!
What's your favourite piece that you've written?
Which ever one I've just written.
You can join Jess and the Over 55s Poetry group every Thursday morning 10.15am - 12pm in The Exchange. During the session you will work on writing activities, share pieces and give feedback. The group works on a come to as many weeks as you can and don't worry about the ones you miss basis. The workshops cost £8 per person per week.
If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org. All abilities and experience levels are warmly welcomed.
‘I love the way that Jess teaches. She achieves just the right balance to stimulate creativity. I have seen everyone who has attended Jess’s workshops improve their technique and repertoire. As for me personally, poetry is now my passion.’
@jessgreenpoet on Twitter and Instagram