Through Her Eyes: Poet Jae Pettigrew

Sunday, 01 November 2009 18:01 Written by  Frances Moffett

Jae Pettigrew has been writing poetry on and off for about 20 years and decided to share her private works with the world in her book, “Through Her Eyes,” a compilation of her poetry which tackles a variety of topics from love and hardship to spirituality and loss. Pettigrew, a 31-year-old Chicago native, tells GMO about her works and how she managed to overcome one of the biggest losses of her life.

jpWhat inspired you to start writing professionally?

Family, friends and others who have read my work and said I should make my talent public. After many years of keeping the majority of it private, I finally said, Why not? Maybe someone will appreciate, relate to or even be inspired by my writing, so I gave it a shot.

With writing poetry, how difficult is it to put yourself out there for the world to see?

Very! I'm not outspoken in any sense of the word; I am a very private introvert so to put myself out there for the world to judge was very difficult for me. But, at the same time, I must say my life’s experiences aren't for or truly about me. Life is about using lessons to help and better someone else. So if I reach, teach or motivate just one person with this book, then it will be well worth the difficulty!

What inspires your poetry?

My poetry is purely inspired by my life.

How do you think being from Chicago has influenced your writing?

My writing wouldn't be the way it is if I were from any place else. Chicago and its natives are responsible for my joys, pains and hardships, as well as my drive to succeed. If I were in another city that was not so fast paced, not so brutal, unforgiving and merciless, then my writing would be also.
Tell us about your organization, A Woman’s Worth.

Woman’s Worth is a non-for-profit organization I started and use as a way of guiding and protecting women and young ladies for being statistics as far as domestic violence, teenage pregnancy and drop-out ratings are concerned. It is a safe haven for women in trouble and a mentor program for ladies that need support and guidance from people who know how hard it is to walk in their shoes.

In addition to writing poetry, what other talents or ambitions do you have?

Design. I have an earnest desire and a willingness to strive to have a tasteful, not average clothing line. In my years of shopping I have not, as of yet, been able to go into one store and find the perfect outfit. I always have to shop around and piece things together to fit my taste. Even for special events such as my book release, it took me days to find my attire and I still had to have it altered to fit my style. I know if I go through this there is someone else in the world that does as well. So I am eager to design for us, the different people that want more than what is popular and occupies so many shelves today.

What advice would you give up-and-coming poets?

If you want your work to last, always write from your heart because real people can spot a fake from a mile away. What comes from the heart will reach the heart as well as stand the test of time. Also, trust yourself.

What are some things you want to take on in the future?

Well, I lost my fiance who was the one and only love of my life this year. In a life that is nowhere near easy, I can safely say this is the hardest thing I've ever had to endure and I'm still trying to get through. When I lost him, I lost myself and it's only by the grace of God that I'm still here and in my right state of mind. From this experience I noticed that we (the survivors) need comfort, understanding and compassion to make it through. So in his name I am going to start a support group to help those who have lost a lover, fiancé, husband, etc. to a violent crime, suicide or any sudden death. So that we have people to talk to who know how we feel and can relate to what we’re going through. I will start things as soon as I rally some supporters and get myself together a little more. If one person is kept from falling into a deep depression because of the support group, I will feel I was productive with all of my pain.


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Frances Moffett

Frances Moffett

GMO Editor-At-Large Frances Moffett is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She has worked with GMO since its inception. With a love for journalism and all things writing, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University. Frances is also an editor at the country’s largest association management company and has written for a variety of publications, including Jet magazine, The Chicago Defender and The Chicago Reporter.

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