In honor of National Poetry Month I have been posting tons of poetry on Lexi’s Author Alcove. I have featured several poets on this site and I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new poet from the U.S Virgin Island of St. Croix Mr. Richard Jensen Jr. He currently resides in Georgia and is owner of PDP entertainment which provides live poetry readings for special events such as weddings, birthdays and more. SHADES OF LOVE is Mr. Jensen’s current project.
1. When did you first begin writing?
I first began writing in middle school. I was attending a Catholic school and began murdering reggae hits by creating my own lyrics to popular reggae songs. My writing then progressed from there on out and took on the shape of love poems.
2. Who are your inspirations?
My inspiration would be in the likes of Bob Marley, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelo, and people who were positive role models in my life while I was growing up in the US Virgin Islands. Today, I am inspired by my new found love, my wife Crista Jensen and my daughter Rainah Arielle Jensen.
3. What are your writing habits? Do you write a certain amount of pages per day? Do you write at a certain time of day?
I write when inspired mostly. I don’t really like to say well I’ll write a poem a day. I don’t want my works to start to run into each other and sound too similar unless I am trying to tell a story.
4. Who are your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite author. If I was to choose, it would have to be one mentioned in the inspiration category.
5. What are your goals as a writer?
My goals as a writer are to reach the masses with a message of unconditional love. I want to ask readers to understand that love is perfect in the way that the creator presented it to us. We must stop imposing our own selfish expectations on love. I want the younger generation to understand that it takes a stronger person to love than it does to hate.
6. If you had one wish for your writing career what would it be?
One wish, just one? I pray that the Lord may bless me with the ability and resources to reach the universe and share my experiences in love. I wish that my career would take flight like a bird in the open skies and allow me to communicate that if one continues to do the right thing in love, the rewards are countless.
7. What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
I would have to say to them, never destroy any of your work regardless of how broken you are by any situation. Continue to write what is in your heart and on your mind.
8. Why did you choose to self publish versus traditional publishing?
Self publishing for me was an option first, because I wasn’t sure about the direction in which I wanted this project to head. Secondly, I wanted more control over this book as far as content, context, and availability.
9. Will you consider a traditional publisher in the future? Why or why not?
In the future, I would consider a traditional publisher. That all depends on the success of this book Shades of Love.
10. Have you won any awards for your writing? If so please elaborate.
My only award is the smile on the faces of the people who have had the pleasure of reading my work. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that my writing has touched the life of someone somewhere. Although I have thought about submitting several poems in to competitions, I am not quite sure that is the avenue for me.
11. Where can someone purchase your books?
Shades of Love can be purchased on line at www.lulu.com. To save on shipping, send a postal money order to PO Box 871141 Stone Mountain, Ga 30087 or a simple phone call to 678-913-8942. Here is a direct link to my book on lulu.——>>> http://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=8337084
12. How do you promote your books?
I promote my book on different sites like facebook, Black Planet, and My Space. I also appeared on a radio show called Beyond Empowerment in the Virgin Islands. I will be on the air again on 4-17-2010 or you can listen online from 9-11pm at www.reefbroadcasting.com. I also promote through word of mouth, family members and fans that have purchased my book.
13. Do you belong to any writing associations?
No, not at the moment. I often post writings on facebook or on Black Planet in the forums on my poetry group.
14. Please tell our readers about your book “Shades of Love”?
Shades of Love is a collection of poems I’ve been working on since my high school days. Some of the poems in this book chronicle my love story. They tell a story of how I extended my love towards women in an unconditional way. Despite being heartbroken many times over, I continued to love like I never loved before.
Shades of Love also contains poems that express the love for my home St.Croix US Virgin Islands. Included also are poems dedicated to the love of my mother and two dedications to the memory of a grandfather and an uncle who shared that same birthday as I.
I write, “In life we can’t determine who will love us or how they will. What we can control is how we love others and the intensity of which those emotions are portrayed.”
15. What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on a book that will take on the format of a poem followed by an inspirational message and a quote. The project will be geared in a manner as to stimulate a deeper sense of thought.
16. You describe Shades of Love as “A glimpse into the emotional stepping stones as I matured and learned the art of love. The poems within this book recant my life experiences with love in relation to the people around me.” Did you have to travel down a long hard road to where you are now, a husband, new father, and author?
I would say yes. The road was and still is a rough and rocky road. I tend not to complain just because those trials and tribulations made me the man I am today. Life lessons served as hands in the potter’s house. I don’t think I ever want to walk a smooth straight road. Too boring and does not build character. The sweet victory of hardships is a beautiful loving wife and a seven week old baby that is a bundle of joy indeed. I wouldn’t trade that in for anything in this world.
17. Will readers get a glimpse into the life of Richard Jensen Jr. by reading you poetry?
I am sure that they will. They will see my love for the queens in my life, Black Woman. They will understand how the rewards of love are great and everlasting.
18. Is there anything you would like readers of Shades of Love to take away from your book?
Yes, Love period. I would like readers to understand that love takes on different shades depending on who we are showing that love to. Different shades however should not be mistaken for love without conditions.
19. In one of your facebook notes you speak of the violence that has become a way of life on St. Croix, where you grew up. You ask people to “Forget about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Some of us can’t even love ourselves enough to show that emotion forward to the people around us. Let us LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS REGARDLESS OF HOW WE LOVE OURSELVES…LET US LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS ACCORDING TO 1st CORINTHIANS 13” Do you think that self hatred is the cause of violence not only on in the Virgin Islands but in all the cities in this country as well?
I really do believe there is a lack of self love in this world. I wouldn’t go as far as to say self hatred, but there is definitely a lack of self respect and self love that can be the root of evil doing. What is the cause of this? There are many causes, which is the context of another book in itself, but partly to be blamed on society as a whole. Partly to be blamed on government intrusion on discipline by parents and guardians. Partly to be blamed on the lack of positive role models in our neighborhoods.
20. You also stated that you wanted to get “the message of love across, even If I only reach one. Not trying to preach, just want to express how love got me where I am today.” Have you become the unofficial ambassador of Love, through your writing?
If only I had the authority to do such a thing. I feel like we all should be ambassadors of love. I feel like when you know better, you do better. Therefore we who know should then show through example and testimony. I want the world to know, Love is the answer. Like Mother Theresa said, “Love until it hurts, and when it doesn’t hurt anymore, all that is left to do is love.