Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
James Dennis Casey IV
James D. Casey IV is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi. He currently resides in Illinois with his Beautiful Muse, their retarded dog, and two black cats. Mr. Casey has authored five books of poetry, and his most recent title is Isomorphic released September 24, 2018, through Cajun Mutt Press. His work has also been published extensively by literary magazines and small press venues including Outlaw Poetry, Beatnik Cowboy, The Rye Whiskey Review, Dope Fiend Daily, Under The Bleachers, Zombie Logic Review, Horror Sleaze Trash, Pink Litter, Spillwords Press, and several others internationally. Mr. Casey mainly spends his days writing poetry, but also enjoys practicing magick, and cooking Cajun cuisine. Links to his books and other projects can be found here: https://cajunpoetjames.wordpress.com/
Drunk on Metaphors
- What inspired you to write poetry?
It was a few things that happened to me throughout my life, then some things that hit me all in the same year. I started writing at a young age, but I didn’t begin to take it seriously until I broke my neck and back in 2009. Then my Mom passed away of cancer, and a good friend of mine overdosed and died on my living room couch. I had a lot of down time and was severely depressed so I was writing really heavily every day, and I decided to submit some work to a few places. After I had a few publications under my belt I decided to go through all the back-log of poems I had written over the span of 20 years or so and publish a book. Now here we are, five books later, and it’s the love of my life. If I didn’t have writing I don’t know where I’d be today, probably dead.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
It was something I kind of stumbled upon on my own. My Mom was an avid reader, but she wasn’t really into poetry, though she used to take me to the local library with her when I was young. I remember running across a book by Robert Frost, and that sparked my interest. As I got older I started reading a lot of the beatnik generation poetry, and that’s what really made me want to become a writer. I love Bukowski, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, but especially Buk. His work just resonated with me on a level nothing else could.
3. What was it about Frost that sparked your interest?
I’d never read poetry before his work, and I fell in love with it. I even wrote one titled Fire & Ice not too long ago that was a nod to his poem with the same title. He was the first rhyming poet I remember reading, and it was so musical to me, that’s what drew me in. Since then I’ve steered away from the rhyming end of the spectrum when it comes to writing, and it’s still something I enjoy now and then, but I’m not a big fan of it like I was in my youth. After reading more free verse and other unstructured styles of writing that’s where I found my true love for the craft. But it was Frost’s musical way with words that sparked my interest.
4. How would you describe the level at which Buk resonates with you?
He has a way of slipping in between sleaze and beauty with an ease and style all his own that I’ve never seen anyone else able to achieve quite like he does. I dig that. He can speak to me on so many different levels. My favorite poems by him are from two completely opposite ends of beauty and sleaze as well. One is The Roach Hotel and the other is The Laughing Heart. It’s incredible the amount of ability he has to write in such a no filter way. He can express human emotion like no other writer I’ve read, and I love him for it.
5. What is your daily writing routine?
I have two different routines when it comes to writing. Sometimes I’ll wake up early, make some coffee, put on some tunes and have a mellow day just pecking out a few poems. Other times I’ll wake up late, start drinking booze, and chain smoke while I’m violently clacking away at the keys for hours without a single break. But both methods usually produce several poems, and I do write every single day. Even on days where I feel a bit mentally blocked I’ll force myself to sit down and write. It may not be any good, but I do it just so my head doesn’t explode. There’s always so much going on up in my grey matter that it feels like it will sometimes anyway. Writing has always been a therapeutic tool for me.
6. Is therapy the only motivation to write?
No, I write for several different reasons. If I need to get something off my chest, express myself in various ways, for creative or artistic purposes, personal goals, love, hate, all forms of passion whether it’s good or bad, and I find that most times writing is the only way I can say some of the things I need or want to say in the way I intend them to be said. Poetry is language in its most distilled form, and it’s easier for me to communicate that way most of the time.
7. What Is your work ethic?
Well I do admit, writing is definitely a full-time job for me, even though not a very profitable one. Especially doing it all on my own. Self promotion can be a bitch sometimes, but I put 100% of myself into everything I do. I also run Cajun Mutt Press, initially I started it to publish my own books, and now I’m publishing other writer’s work. I put 100% into that as well, and I love doing it. We have 5 titles published so far, two of which are mine, and we just started in early August.
8. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I feel like I’m part of the old Beatnik Poetry scene, even though it’s in the past and there’s a new generation of poets at the helm. They still influence me now that I’m older. Sometimes I feel like I was born into the wrong generation because it’s so different and more complicated now. Even poetry, you can read from the old greats and see that things were different – better in a way – and now things are on a totally different level. There’s still some of the same stuff going on in poetry, but it’s magnified into a whole new creature. The writers I read in my youth, and still to this day, influenced me to concentrate on simpler things in life. I try not to get caught up in the hype of today’s bullshit and just live in the now of my own reality, because everyone’s reality is subjective. That is how they influence me today.
9. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
There are a lot of great writers out there today, and I’m a big fan of a lot of the stuff I’ve been seeing on Facebook and other social media platforms. If I was to name them all the list would be ten feet long, but there are a few I can name from the top of my list of poets/writers that I admire. Ron Whitehead, I love his style of Kentucky Gonzo Poetry. John Patrick Robbins, not only a great outlaw writer but also a dedicated Mad Editor to more than one venue – The Rye Whiskey Review being my favorite. Ryan Quinn Flanagan, that man is one of the most prolific poets I’ve ever had the pleasure of running across. K.W. Peery, I love how he integrates blues and outlaw history into his work. There are several more, but like I said the list is ten feet long. These are just a handful of my favorite current writers that also happen to be friends of mine.
10. Why do you write?
I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I’m a writer, that’s what we do, we write. If I didn’t write every day I think my head would explode, it’s as simple yet complicated as that.
11. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I think you know if you’re a writer, I’ve always known. No matter how many degrees you earn or brevity you claim, good writing isn’t something you can teach. It has to be learned by personal experience. I’ve been writing for many years, but I’m no master of the craft by any means, and it gets to me when people say they are. Especially young writers with a degree from somewhere and a cocky attitude about it. Some of the best writers I know weren’t taught, they learned on their own. So to “become” a writer I guess you kind of need to already be one, and know it, in the first place.
12. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I have several irons in the fire right now. Also, I just published a book that will be the first in a series I plan on doing titled Owls in Hot Rods with Pink Elephants and Dead Bats. That one came out on August 2nd, and I just published another book of poetry September 24th titled Isomorphic. They’re both through my own publishing company, Cajun Mutt Press. I’ve also published a few other writers’ work, and have a couple of books in progress from myself and various others. So I’ve been pretty busy in that department, but I love doing it. We also have a featured writer spot we do twice a week on Wednesday and Friday. If anyone reading this is interested they can look us up on Facebook for details.