Today I’m concluding my interview with poet Jean Janzen.
LM: What are you working on now?
JJ: I am just now closing my seventh collection of poems entitled PAPER HOUSE, which will be published next year by Good Books. Also I am working on essays which I hope will become a collection. These are a mix of memoir and meditations on various topics that intrigue and amaze me.
LM: What would you say to encourage young poets who are Christians?
JJ: Being a Christian involved in the arts is a place of amazing grace. We not only have the gift of a narrative by which to live, but also the permission to explore everything that exists in its relationship to the Creator who desires us and our best work. I would encourage young poets to be patient, not to force work, and to remember that the most important thing is to allow a rich, maturing self to develop, one who is open to learn, change, and give.
LM: Is there anything you’d like to add?
JJ: At a time when endless information is at our fingertips, and when war continues as solution to world problems, we desperately need the arts for focus, for honesty, and for correction. If we take the call of Jesus seriously, we can see how the arts are essential to worship and work. All true art is subversive to misuse of power, to lies, divisiveness, and self-promotion. Artists in our churches, then, are essential to pull us out of feel-good worship toward the holy, the mystery, and the disciplines and possibilities of the Kingdom of heaven to transform us.
On Monday, I’ll be featuring award-winning photographer Roger Varland.