Sweet Connections: JR Tappenden

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future. 

Name: JR Tappenden
Title of Piece published in Sweet: Tree for the Forest, Peregrine 
Issue:  8.3

JR Tappenden

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JR Tappenden is a successful poet who draws from emotion. You can find out more about her at jrtappenden.com.

What are some major accomplishments you’ve had since your Sweet publication?

My chapbook Independent City came out from Wells College Press in October 2016. It’s letterpress printed with a custom woodcut on the flyleaf, printed in an edition of 150 copies. Both the poems that appeared in Sweet are included. I couldn’t be happier!

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about? 

I’ve been working on a series of poems that help me process my own grief for my dad. He died in 2016 and I found I had a lot of conflicting emotions that I needed to process. They’re structured as notes addressed to “Dear Sister.” Most of the time, the sister is my real sister, Kara, but sometimes the sister is me, or another woman who I encountered during my dad’s last days. All the titles are “Regarding…” something. There’s one in Superstition Review called “Regarding Your Wish for Do-Overs.” Others from the series have also appeared in Kestral, and New Limestone Review.

Who is your favorite author? 

I have to pick just one? No way. Right now I’m loving Terrance Hayes, Natalie Diaz and Danez Smith. I’ll also miss the great, departed Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book? 

One book of poems that I go back to again and again is “Satan Says” by Sharon Olds.

What inspires you to write? 

The world is so strange and wonderful. It can be terrifying but also tender. How else to process all of that?

What is your favorite sweet? 

Ice cream. Especially strawberry ice cream. It tastes like summer.

Thank you, JR, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future! 

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