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Poetry in Transit interview with Jennica Harper

Poetry in Transit interview with Jennica Harper

Jennica Harper
Jennica Harper

Now in its 18th year, Poetry in Transit aims to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes! Jennica Harper’s “Fever” is one of 20 poems that are on the system this year. I had the opportunity to do a quick interview with Jennica, here’s what she had to say!

Who is Jennica Harper? Very existential! I’m a Vancouver poet and TV writer. I’ll let you guess which kind of writing pays the bills.

Would you be able to tell us a bit more about your poem that will be shared as part of Poetry in Transit? What were the inspirations behind it? “Fever” is a sonnet about the hunt for affordable real estate in Vancouver – the despair, the hope, the compromises, and the addictiveness of the search. The earliest version of the poem was written for poet Sachiko Murakami’s “Project Rebuild” – a very cool online space in which people “re-built” one another’s poems.

How would you classify your style of poetry and writing? What inspires you? I would say I write accessible free verse (the occasional sonnet or sestina being the exception). I like using iconic figures or fictional characters (Houdini, Pinocchio, Mad Men’s Sally Draper) as filters for exploring my own thoughts or experiences.

What’s a ‘great’ poem for you? Any poem that haunts me later.

Who’s your favourite poet and/or somebody that has heavily influenced your work? One of my favourite poets is Sharon McCartney. She delves deeply into existing fictional worlds and characters and explores them in playful, fresh ways.

What does Poetry of Transit mean for you? It’s fantastic. I love moments of art placed within an otherwise functional context. And for me, personally, knowing people who might not ordinarily read poetry at all will be reading my poem… that’s very powerful.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode? I recently moved to an area of town really close to a Canada Line stop. Getting to and from the airport in twenty minutes is amazing.

Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future. I’m not yet sure what my next book of poems will be about. But I recently had my first child, and hope to get her hooked on poetry early. Shel Silverstein and Dennis Lee, here we come!

Is there anything you’d like to add or share? Yes – thank you, Translink and the Association of Book Publishers of BC, for continuing to make Poetry in Transit happen!

Thanks for your time Jennica! You can visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @jennicaharper. Join the conversation using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit!

Author: Allen Tung


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