30th Anniversary Alumni Appreciation: Jenn Carter

Èlan Literary Magazine is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. In honor of our longevity we are posting work from our editorial staff alumnus, which includes biographies, Q&A’s, and excerpts of their pieces.

Jennifer Carter Blog Post PictureJenn Carter graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 2013. She is currently a double major in Theater and Creative Writing at Florida State University and will be graduating Summer 2016. Her play Missouri Hymns opens as a part of FSU School of Theater’s original works festival New Horizons this spring. This play stages poetry in a unique immersive theatrical experience. After graduating she plans on continuing to research how poetry blends and transforms when paired with other artistic mediums, especially theater. She awaits to hear back from many MFA programs, and has currently been accepted into Episcopal Service Corp in Washington, DC.

How did your experience at DA influence your current artistic development?

It gave me the discipline to endure as an artist in the collegiate world. It gave me a home to fondly look back on, and gave me the strength to continue writing.

 

Trailer Park Aubade

 (From Èlan 2013)

Last night

your smile has a yellow haze of

“good old days”,

the sunset over the drugstore

making out by

the dumpster, our initials

scrawled on the belly of a metal beast

fed on

empty beer cans.

 

This morning

Stevie lyrics

bring back memories beneath

barnyard cobwebs.

A slow dance to the hum

of moths orbiting florescent

moons.

 

You touch my hair,

nibble my ear and I

I shake you off

an indefinite hangover.

 

We stare out the window.

A series of white trailers stand

at attention like rusted

submarines, and you salute

then with your naked frame.

 

A pink tricycle wheel

still spins.

A mutt chews

Last night’s take out.

A patriotic bird house

with chipped paint

is vacant.

 

Poet’s Drive

(Performed at the Èlan 30th Anniversary Alumni Reading)

Anne Sexton says it only matters
how I remember him. The man
he actually was is irrelevant.
Sexton curls her knees to her chest
and reads Stanislavsky.
She drives down Tennessee Street,
a dream catcher and a rosary hanging
from her rear view mirror. I drive
by her in a 1987 Ford Ranger
we miss each other in our hurried passing.

I’m in a chapel cleaning windows.
He asks me how many windows I cleaned.
I mumble about the pollen.
He doesn’t know about all the poets
driving around in this town.
How we call each other late at night
from the cold side of our pillows.
Instead on the couch he tells me
my poetry is my music.

He doesn’t know Anne Sexton
is a method actor at the podium.
She says by the time she is at the last line
of her work she is a naked woman.
Her voice becomes small and exposed.

I drive away from his house
blasting my actual music
so the last pieces of me
can bleed into his life
as he closes the front door.

 

I roll down the windows
open the sun roof at night
pretend there is a texture
to the air in this town.
There is mystery in this
fluorescent neighborhood.

I park my car outside
my apartment. Anne is writing

 

from my third floor bedroom.
She is writing my shadow
against a dimly lit ballad.

I am on repeat driving him home,
watching him slide out of the car
almost always pulling him back.

What do you wish someone had told you about the experience of being a creative writer at DA when you were a student? (Think about things you wish you’d appreciated more when you were here that you now realize brought you value).

My teachers always said, “Never again will you have a community quite like this,” and they were right. And I have been a creative writing major at FSU. I hope to be in a poetry MFA program one day. But I was writing with my peers at DA (most of them) since I was eleven. We were learning to read, and write- we were forming what language and art meant to us for literally the first time. And realizing that is key, but something that doesn’t come fully until you have the perspective of leaving.