Local Writer and Journalist Nicole Hennessy Releases Debut Poetry Book ‘Gypsy Queen’

Sat 5/4 @ 6-10PM

For as long as Nicole Hennessy can remember, she’s thought of herself as a Gypsy Queen. At least, that’s what her uncle used to call her. However, this was more than a term of endearment. Instead, it has empowered Hennessy to think big.

Today as a poet and journalist, she wears that title proudly, even feeling a sense of responsibility. Not only did Hennessy co-found underground art and literary bimonthly Miser Magazine, but she released 2011 nonfiction book Black Rabbit about poet and artist Tom Kryss.

Next Hennessy makes her poetry book debut with the release of Gypsy Queen. To celebrate the collection, she’s scheduled “Vision of a Gypsy Queen” for May 4 at the Good Goat Gallery.

The affair includes participating poets (Anne Serling, Bree Zlee, EF Shraeder, Ellia Bisker, Holly Proctor, Nancy Laessig, Kim Addonizio, Krystal Sierra, Lauren Dulay, Lisa Snellings, Vanessa Webb, Victoria Price) with participating artists (Amy M. Mothersbaugh, A. Nancy Cintron, Angela Oster, Cat Swartz, Darrelle Centuori, Kat, Laura D’Alessandro, Lauren Dulay, Melinda Placko, Kat Francis).

CoolCleveland talked to Hennessy, who works as an employment specialist for a local nonprofit, about the impetus behind Gypsy Queen and the “Vision of a Gypsy Queen” event.

CoolCleveland: Congratulations on Gypsy Queen. This must be very exciting.

Nicole Hennessy: Yes, I just sent the proofs over last night. It’s actually my first poetry collection. However, I previously published a nonfiction book called Black Rabbit in 2011. I’ve been working as a journalist as well, so I did some traveling and arts reporting too. And then I worked for newspapers. Also, I’ve been writing poetry since I was 13 years old.

CC: Why was the time right to release a book of poetry?

NH: I kind of had a consistent collection going. I feel like the themes were really clear and it was fleshed out to where it made me feel like it was worth putting out as one piece rather than submitting poems here or there. There’s a lot of mysticism in the poems, and there are also a lot of themes on past lives. It’s definitely a personal mythology in a way.

CC: Are we talking about reincarnation?

NH: Yeah, kind of. I guess those themes are valid and are within many of the poems.

CC: How would you describe your poetry style?

NH: I consider myself a street poet, primarily. My style is very organic; however, I do have that journalistic background to where I am aware of editing choices. There’s one piece in particular called “Death” that I edited for about a month. Actually, the Cleveland Public Library is publishing an excerpt of that as part of their poetry month.

CC: How did you land on the Gypsy Queen title?

NH: The title poem is something that my uncle would always call me — gypsy queen and gypsy woman. In fact, he still does.

CC: Let’s talk about the “Vision of the Gypsy Queen” affair.

NH: Nancy Cintron runs Good Goat. She’s such an amazing artist and person. She offered to host a launch party for me. We thought, why don’t we just curate a whole show. So we have all women, and we’ve linked poets and artists. We have visual artists interpret poetry. That work will be hanging for three weeks at the gallery.

CC: How did you land on a multi-disciplinary show?

NH: I think a lot of poetry tends to be really unapproachable and one of the things I really want to work on this year is making the poetry community more a part of the larger arts community. We really need to do a better job of integrating and considering ourselves as artists. This is our art. When poets have readings or whatever, we’re always in a room with other poets. So definitely including visual artists is intentional in that we need to integrate more into the community and be much more intentional about that.

CC: Finally, are you thinking ahead to your next book?

NH: I’m really not. I have a full-time day job, and I also I’m a single mom; although, I’m always writing.

[Written by John Benson]


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