Our interview today is with the fabulous Jessica Urlichs; a mother of 2 under 2 and writing beautiful poetry about it in New Zealand.
When did you first start writing poetry?
I started when I was about 5, my first poems were about things like my Guinea pigs or stars or my Mum! At 10 I wrote my first ‘darker’ poem.. which got published in a poetry magazine for NZ young writers and printed and framed in the reception at school! To be honest the poem was pretty heavy for a 10 year when I think back haha but but I enjoy writing about heavy emotions, it’s more of a cathartic release, maybe even at 10! I have boxes and boxes of poetry diaries of mine in storage.
How did motherhood impact your creativity and the way you write poetry?
Motherhood unlocked a piece of my heart, I hadn’t written in years and after having babies I randomly picked up a pen again and found a bit of me time. Motherhood was the catalyst for finding a voice that didn’t tremble, though that took some time. It was the unveiling and discovering of myself (and still is). I learn so much about myself through them each day and also every time I pick up a pen or type. I feel like my heart is a lot more vulnerable in my pieces now because they are my heart and I lay it bare in the words.
How do you write poetry? How do you find the time?
If something comes to me I just jot it down in my phone notepad app, then usually I’ll expand on it if they’re sleeping or at night time. The bath or with holly asleep on me in our chair or sitting next to Harrys bed have been my inspiration spots haha. Usually I don’t have a lot of time but I find the ones I don’t spend much time on are from the heart anyway.
How do you feel when you’ve written a poem?
I just feel a sense of completion, like I’ve painted a picture that I can keep looking at and make sense of in different ways.
Who do you share your poetry with and why?
I share most of it to my socials and I read it to my husband, sometimes he just nods and doesn’t know quite what to say haha, but he has been my biggest supporter. My Mum and my Nana have also been big supporters too.
What has the response been to your poetry?
It’s been really engaging and I feel like I have created a beautiful supportive community through it. I think because the pieces are relatable and touch on a lot of the emotions so many of us mothers go through but maybe find it hard to either put into words or talk about.
How did you feel when you published your poetry book?
Scared and excited. It had always been a life long dream of mine to write poetry and publish a book, neither of which I thought would happen. It’s so amazing that you can self publish, it gives so many writers a voice that many others need to hear.
What poetry do you enjoy reading?
I actually don’t read a lot of poetry, but I do really love Rupi Kaur and Kate Baer.
What tips do you have for others writing poems about their experiences of motherhood?
Not to overthink it, don’t write with the intent of sharing, just write. Even pick up a pen. Sometimes I feel like writing with a pen brings out different thoughts, I know that sounds weird but it’s true!
What tips do you have for anyone who would like to give writing poetry a go but hasn’t done it before?
Just pick up a pen and make a start, you will very soon find your style, and sometimes that will change depending on your mood. You can read other poets work, you can find inspiration, but the best pieces I think will come without any of that and just with raw emotion and spilling of thoughts.
In a nutshell, what are your reasons for writing poetry?
A: It’s a calling to me to make messy things make sense and ugly things beautiful. I also love how poetry can make others feel, poetry is very special like that.
Find Jess on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessurlichs_writer/
Her beautiful book of poems “From One Mom to a Mother is available to buy on Amazon NOW. Or readers in New Zealnd or Australia can message Jess direct to purchase.