Photo: Kristen Smith
As the new school year begins, Drake welcomes a new group of first-year students, but they will not be the only fresh faces navigating the halls this coming semester.
Drake is lucky enough to have 27 new faculty members from all areas of study this semester, ready grace the halls with fresh ideas and perspectives. The English department has the pleasure of introducing Jonterri Gadson, a visiting professor teaching ENG 91; “Reading/Writing Poetry.”
She has a BA in English from Florida International University in Miami Florida and a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Gadson loves interacting with other writers from around the world through the wonders of social media. Get to know her better from her short interview below.
Q: I see that your expertise is in Poetry, do you have a favorite writer/poem?
A: Gwendolyn Brooks inspired me the most toward pursuing an education centered around poetry and creative writing. Her poem from the sequence “Children of the Poor” that begins “First fight, then fiddle” is my favorite. Once I started reading more, Terrance Hayes became my favorite poet still writing today.
Q: You say you love social media and interacting with other writers through it, but do these sites ever hinder rather than fuel your creative process? Does the dreaded “Facebook” ever distract you as it does so many Drake students?
A: Social media can definitely hinder my creative process if I let it. I realized that I use it so much more when I have a deadline and I’m procrastinating. Facebook doesn’t distract me as much as other things.
Q: If so, what website/social networking addiction eats up most of your time?
A: Twitter! I love Twitter! It’s so “right now”. Updates are constant. Twitter allows me to interact with poets and authors I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. I’ve built some great relationships via Twitter. But, yes, it can be a productivity killer.
Q: Do you have a famous fictional character you feel you can relate to?
A: Janie, from Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I can track my development through the types of relationships I’ve had with people just like she can.
Q: Upon arriving at Drake was there anything about campus that stuck out or surprised you? What about it do you like best?
A: The technology in the classrooms. I’m really excited not to have to lug my laptop to all my different classes.
Q: What are you looking forward to most about Drake?
A: I am really looking forward to getting to know the English department faculty better and to helping Drake’s students bring new work into the world.
Q: How do you plan to decorate your office?
A: One of my students from UVA gave me a card with a lady bug on it, so I’m thinking of incorporating lady bugs in some way.
Q: If you weren’t an English professor, what would you be doing instead?
A: I would be a therapist.