Hannah Spence on “Purse Full of Poetry”

South Florida based writer Hannah Spence just published a brand new chapbook titled Purse Full of Poetry. To celebrate the publication of her debut collection, Hannah stepped on to the Jitney to answer our questions on what exactly is in her Purse Full of Poetry.

What inspired your book, Purse Full of Poetry?

Hannah Spence: Poetry has always been a passion of mine so I figured I would publish a book eventually. But what inspired Purse Full of Poetry in particular was the fact that I meet and had many interactions with someone who I was able to write a whole chapbook about.

What is your process for writing poetry?

I wish I could say I have an organized process for writing poetry but I don’t. I do like for things to be quiet while I am writing though; and I am only able to write a poem when I get true inspiration-as in something major an impactful happens to me or I see something spectacular. I do hand write things though before I type, I think my brain just works that way.

Who are some poets that influenced your writing? Why are they such big influences for you?

I love so many poets! I started off liking the older, classic stuff like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman but these past few years I have been inspired by Clairel Estevez, Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur mostly because I have seen how much modern, more straightforward poetry can speak to people.

Do you have to use a different part of your brain to write poetry than you do for journalism?

I don’t think so. I try to be insightful and creative for writing both poetry and journalistic pieces. And I think both types of writing requires me to go very deep into the creative side of my brain in order to write something that is not only heartfelt but also entertaining, smart and (occasionally) funny. I do get more liberty with poetry though.

Can you share a poem from the book with us?

I think this is a good one to share:

Let it Go

People say,

“let it go”

as if it easy.

Like the thing

you are gripping on to
is not worth holding.

It baffles me

that countless poems,

and books have been
dedicated to “letting it go”
but we still act as if
it is not a difficult art
that is almost
impossible to master.

Where and how can people buy Purse Full of Poetry?

People can buy Purse Full of Poetry on Amazon. It is not yet available in bookstores but I am working on that. Emoji

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits the Jitney blog. He is the author of the novels Yo-Yo & The End of the Century.