Publishers Weekly Poetry, July 1, 2020
M: Asylum is a “personal, historical, natural inquiry in 103 lyric sections.” Can you talk a bit about your writing process throughout the time you shaped this book?
J: This book was a lesson in process. It kept unfolding, one thread or trope of the poem circled back to another or prompted a new section. I began to see patterns, themes, taking hold, and I went on the journey along with the evolution of the poem.
The book began in 2016 when our world seemed to suddenly take a drastic turn, and I wanted the poem to speak to this moment of fear and displacement. The lyric poem didn’t feel like enough of a container, and I wanted to take more formal risks. My concern about how the human spirit would prevail, could it, with so much violence, racial discord, upheaval and loss was a question that hung over the life of the poem, forcing it in areas of exploration.