Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Jessica Lee McMillan from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Décollage” in our eighth issue!
Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?
Jessica: The search for language to capture the dazzling world and how something as simple as the angle of light in the spectrum can bewitch us with complex emotions. My creativity feels inexhaustible so the challenge is protecting time every day to channel it.
Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?
Jessica: I really love Jeanette Winterson’s writing and Judith Butler’s philosophy.
Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?
Jessica: The landscapes of British Columbia are the background of much of my writing. I live next to the Fraser River, which has become a major influence in my work. Every poet needs a body of water. The physics of light and sound also inform the movements or textures of my poems.
Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?
Jessica: I prefer to work on paper first and have several notebooks for new pieces, ideas, words, and poetic sketches. When a poem is ready, I transcribe it and walk away. My intuition and ear guide the process and the poem tells me its direction. For instance, “Décollage” is an ekphrastic response to Thievery Corporation’s song employing the technique (of reverse collage/lifting off) by gluing two poems together, then tearing strips from the top layer to reveal simultaneous texts that inspired the surreal verse.
Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?
Jessica: As an emerging poet, I am submitting to journals but I am finalizing the concept for a chapbook early this year. My upcoming poems and readings are listed on my personal website.
Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?
Jessica: I want to recommend many for each category, but as a hardcore music enthusiast, I am going with the brilliant Kamasi Washington who is re-writing the book of jazz with Afro futuristic, progressive polyrhythms, elements of hip hop, soul and funk that are erudite as “Clair de Lune” and kickass as its martial arts references (“Fists of Fury”, “Streetfighter Mas”).
Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?
Jessica: I am also a painter hoping to let image and word have some playtime when I am not quite so busy. I also write about music as a release valve from the intense process poetry requires. I’ve even been talking about it as a pop culture station anchor on the voice-sharing app Swell.
Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?