Q&A with Hannah Jenkins

A collage of images, including the suburban review Issue 19 cover, a textured orange rectangle, and a portrait of Hannah Jenkins. Hannah has light skin and shoulder length, light brown hair. They wear a dark plaid, half-sleeve, blue and green shirt. They are relaxed, have a slight smile and business-like crossed arms.

HANNAH JENKINS is an arts writer and poet specialising in digital platforms and online writing experiments. They are currently Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor of the online arts platform Running Dog, and a co-director at Firstdraft. You can find Hannah’s work in Overland, Runway, Scum Mag and much more.

Sam, one of our Associate Editors, interviews Hannah Jenkins about their visual poem ‘Yell’, in #19: Echo.

Your piece, How to Yell Across the Earth, is remarkably visually striking! It harbours quiet undertones of visceral beauty and a multitude of shifting, unsettled potentials. Where did this piece come from, and what does it mean to you?

This piece is a collage of a few ideas I had encountered this year. I had been reading a lot about satellites and the Voyager 1 space probe (which is slowly shutting down its functions as it gets further away from Earth), and I’d also been doing some writing about geology and geological time. I think this piece comes from an overlap of these ideas – yelling out but having no one respond (be that a lone wanderer yelling out across the Earth, or the Earth itself yelling out into space) even in a hyper-connected global environment. I wanted to convey an extreme kind of universal isolation and deep slowness in this work. I’m sure these feelings are shared by many at this time!

Your work creates an impression of shifting layers – figuratively and literally! How do you go about composing your works?

My works are often collage-based but this is the first time I’ve made a physical collage! Normally, I work with databases online and curate them to create generative digital poetry. The idea for this poem being ‘analogue’ came to me when I was thinking about message distortion and radio interference – I tried to capture the feel of distortion by scanning individual images or text snippets then printing them out with a printer that had almost no ink left, so the outcome is as if parts of the message are lost or erased. I repeated this more than once, then took the entire project into Photoshop to add more ‘ghostly’ layers of interference.

Where can readers find more of your bewildering, heart-breaking work?

I’m an experimental arts writer and poet, as well as Assistant Editor & Poetry Editor at Running Dog. You can find my poetry in SCUM mag and Ibis house, and my writing in Running Dog, Runway, Overland, and many more. @Hiijenks on Insta and Twitter.