And what do you know? It’s Friday once more! Here is the last of all the interviews of the authors featured in the boxed set, In All Things, a set of 13 devotional books all based on Africa.
Today, we’re chatting again to Anna Jensen who is actually an ex-pat from her beloved England. Anna wrote two of the books in our In All Things boxed set, and we’ve already interviewed her about the first, Musings from an African Garden. Today, we’re taking a look at her book of poems, Poems from an African Garden
Shirl: Anna, welcome once more!
Anna: Thanks again, Shirley. I’m always happy for a chance to talk about my writing, and I found this boxed set to be a real treat for us all.
Shirl: I was intrigued when you chose to write two books with a linked theme. What motivated you to write a book of poems on the same theme as Musings–that of an African garden?
Anna: For me, poetry reflects the way a garden is, for me, a place of rest and reflection. I feel as if a poem is like a garden bench. It offers a place to sit and pause, a time to reflect, amidst the busyness of daily living.A poem is like a garden bench. It offers a place to sit and pause, a time to reflect, amidst the busyness of daily living. - Anna Jensen Click To Tweet
Poems – Places of Rest!
Shirley: What a lovely way of looking at a poem. Thank you.
So you had to produce seven chapters on this theme. In your case, you not only wrote the poems, you gave us reflections on each poem. Did you find all seven of these easy to find? Or was there one (or more) that caused you to struggle?
Anna: Once I had decided which gardens I would focus on, it became quite easy to write about each of them. I have fond memories of being in each of the gardens I presented, and each had its own story to tell.
Perhaps creating poems that were distinct from each other while still maintaining the theme was the biggest challenge. I sometimes felt that I was repeating myself, saying the same thing but in a different way, whereas I wanted to ensure that each had its own message.
Spiritual Growth through Poems
Shirl: Do you feel as if you grew at all spiritually (or in any other way) while you were writing these chapters? If so, in what way?
Anna: Yes, I think writing these chapters reminded me how much I do enjoy garden spaces, and how much God has spoken to me through them. I have been challenged to return to my own garden more, to spend my prayer times there, knowing that it is a place where God speaks clearly.
Shirl: You mentioned in Musings that you aimed at taking no more than a couple of days for each chapter before forwarding it to a friend who would then read it and give me feedback. Did the same apply to your poetry chapters?
Anna: No. The poetry chapters took longer. Although they are shorter, the hunt to find just the right word can take me some time!
Shirl: How did you enjoy working with the other ten writers, many of whom you’d had no contact with prior to this set?
Anna: I enjoyed working with the other writers. It was interesting to see the different approaches we all took, and the different themes we all chose. It was wonderful to see that God had clearly gone ahead of us, preparing a collection of devotions that work well with each other without any formal planning.
Shirl: You have been very involved in all the promotions we did prior to the launch, and immediately afterward. Thank you for all your input. What did you enjoy about them? Or what was the most difficult for you?
Anna: I really enjoy creating eye-catching social media posts. But although I enjoy doing it, I do find it a bit of a time-sink! I can spend literally hours finding the perfect picture or an ideal font. Being a perfectionist over such things doesn’t help. I can’t leave it alone until I am completely happy with it!!
Shirl: I think you would agree that our launch party was a resounding success. I have to thank you again for this. It was great for me to have you as my partner for the party and for all the pre-party preparation. How about you? What did you enjoy most about it? What was your biggest challenge?
Anna: I loved interacting with people from all over the world. After all, isn’t that the point of why we write? Without people, without some form of relationship with those who read what we create, writing can become just a self-indulgent pastime.
The biggest challenge was making sure I didn’t miss anyone who had taken the time to comment and interact with me.
Shirl: Thank you once again, Anna. Let’s end this short time together by again listening to your lovely English voice, this time reading a short excerpt from the book, Poems from an African Garden.
Listening to Anna
One question for you:
Is there a place in your home or garden where you go to find rest?
(Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.)
Other authors in the set already interviewed:
Shirley Corder – 7 African Animals
Sunrise to Sunset- – Deryn van der Tang
What God Wants – Ashley Winter
Inspired to Worship – Ann Goodfellow
Steps of Faith – Crystal Warren
Life is Good – Yvonne Tippins
Promises to Cherish – Vida Li Sik
Saints in Lockdown – Val Waldeck
Musings from an African Garden – Anna Jensen
Reflections from the Ocean (and Surrounds) – Marion Ueckermann
Peace in Life’s Storms – Shirley Corder
7 Lights in Dark Times – Dianne J. Wilson