Have you ever met a person who you were so in awe of you simply could not find the words to describe them? You know the type – they are so talented, intelligent, imaginative, and mesmerizing to the point of being almost other-worldly? I have a group of artist friends and acquaintances who are so unique and colorful their mere presence just blows me away – Jill Khoury is one of these people.
Before I go any further I should tell you while I haven’t met Jill in person (she crossed my radar when I featured Leigh Anne Focareta) to my delight I found that both she and Leigh Anne know another artsy friend of mine, Marcel Walker. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that Jill would share some of the same amazing characteristics of others within this circle of friends.
Like many of my other Fierce Friday’s interviewees, I contacted Jill by email and she granted me permission to write an article about her. I knew that Jill was a poet from my conversation with Leigh Anne so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I visited her blog at www.jillkhoury.com.
When I was a child I dreamt of falling
belly first, through the roof and into the attic
through the night sky and into the roof,
through an alien universe and into this one.
FROM “BODY ART” ~Jill Khoury
At first glance I knew I stumbled upon something extraordinary when I clicked on Jill’s Bio and saw her intriguing photo. Granted my imagination could be reading way more into the picture than what Jill intended but it immediately grabbed my attention because it was out of the ordinary in that it awakened within me questions.
From the upper left to the right, then the lower right corner of the photo is what appears to be autumn foliage in the forefront. In the background there is lots of sunshine, green grass, then in the distance trees as if looking out over a field. Then hiding among the leaves is who I assume is Jill. You can barely see her face as she’s partially hidden and my first thought was “genius, why didn’t I think of doing something like this?” Then a succession of rapid-fire thoughts: why is she hiding, what does it mean, what is she trying to say, was this intentional, why am I compelled to ask these questions? I finally settled on the photo is just as artistic and compelling as Jill’s writing and I wanted to know more.
I want to be apart. I want to be a part. I want to partake. I want to part ways. I want, I want to participate. ~Jill Khoury
Under the heading Blog (Visceral Poetics) I was not disappointed when I found Jill’s answers to the Tagged! Writing Process Blog Tour. In this section she talks about the projects in process, how her works differ from others, why she writes and her process. While this provided a snapshot of how Jill works what really got me was her raw honesty when she talks about her mother’s death in 2012 and the resulting aftermath. She gives us a glimpse into her fears and how she coped.
Reading further down in Dotting the I in activism Jill talks about her recent trip to Washington, DC where she attended the poetry festival Split This Rock. What I enjoyed most in reading this bit was how she would transition from giving highlights on the festival to “real-time” for example she speaks about issues with her fibromyalgia to a previous life’s situations, to her use of the white cane, disability and other tasty nuggets.
My poetry is more grounded in the body. It engages the senses. There is usually a subtle or not-subtle threat involved. ~Jill Khoury
Though I cannot claim to be a connoisseur of poetry (I hate to admit many times it’s over my head), I do appreciate Jill’s use of words. Her writing to me is magical but then I guess this in its simplest terms is poetry.
When you have a spare moment I’d like to invite you to experience for yourself the many layers of Jill Khoury.
“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash”