Friday Feature: Interview with Rebecca Brown

Each week, the editors of Jenny Magazine sit down with either fellow literary magazine editors or past Jenny contributors for short interviews. This week’s interview is with Rebecca Brown, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

My first publication was actually in the Jenny Magazine! I was published in Issue 7 in 2013 when I was 20. It’s about a speaker reflecting on a family legacy that isn’t as bright and cheery as one would hope a legacy to be. It was really a privilege to be published.

What inspired your piece in the Jenny?

Each section in the poem, “Helen,” was inspired by shamelessly overheard conversations in the course of a day. It was a very eventful day.

What got you into writing?

I started writing as an attempt to process things that I was having trouble verbalizing. I fell in love with putting words together and telling stories.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

I particularly enjoy writing poetry, especially in experimental forms. Lately I’ve been playing with surrealism as well.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

I’m influenced mainly by other people’s stories. I love people-watching and listening to what others have to say.

My top three favorite writers are Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Gertrude Stein.

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

My proudest moment was receiving the 2014 Robert and Virginia Hare Award for distinction in poetry — it was the first time I had sent work out and was quite an honor.

How has your writing developed over time?

My writing has changed almost completely since I started. It’s a lot more polished now. I try to explore more complicated social issues and show layers of meaning in my work.

Are you currently working on anything?

I’m working on lots of things right now! I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time so I have at least three stories I’m switching between. I’m also playing around with a couple of different chapbook ideas and always writing new poems!

What’s your writing process?

I usually have idea generating word, phrase or sentence, whether it’s overheard or found or a topic that I’ve been wanting to write about, and a lot of the time the first draft flows pretty quickly from that. From there I edit, sometimes really intensely, to focus on narrative and tone.

What are you currently reading?

Well, before the fall semester started I was in the middle of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, so I’m looking forward to getting back to that!

Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.


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