Michael Lee Johnson
Manic is the Dark Night, poetry, Issue 21, December 1, 2012
Birth Date? I was born September 22nd, 1947.
When did you start writing? I started to write at 1967, 45 years ago. I went into exile due to the Vietnam War era; then, typewriters, no internet, type poems one by one (no photo copies), international coupons, snail mail only, stamps, 6 month wait and 95 out of 100 never responded, much less made a comment about your poems-just a photocopied rejection letter. So for many years I continued to write but not send the poems out. In 2007 with the advent of the internet I revised poems and created poems and have now been published in 25 different countries.
When and what and where did you first get published? I actually got published in Canada, in exile, in about 1975 with a free opinion article about draft evasion, “A price that continues to be paid,” and one poem called “Pine Tipped and Resisting.” It was the worst poem I’ve ever written. I have been lucky. I have never to date written a poem not published; however I have over 100 unpublished poems yet to send out.
What themes do you like to write about? I’m a story writer. I write about real events, social conditions, but include the mysterious, the creepy, and the metaphysical but with a reality base. Some of my creepy poems are actually based on mental illness; I have suffered at times with depression. I might add I also was a social worker and child care therapist--that’s creepy!
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I have been heavily influenced by Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Herman Hesse, Irvng Layton, and Krishnamurti among others. Narcissus and Goldmund by Krishnamurti had a profound influence on my life with the exchange of difference between life path of two different individuals expressing a real and spiritual confrontation of ideals siring passages of their lives. Carl Sandburg will always be the love and the inspiration of my life-through this man I learned how to be basic, reflect voice, be simple yet a story teller. Herman Hesse was a brain and an intellectual-but he lost me in Steppenwolf going up and down the staircase a loner of night.
Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam Era, and now lives in Itasca, Illinois, runs seven poetry sites, has many videos on YouTube, has published 4 books/chapbooks, and has been published in 25 countries as of this date: http://poetryman.mysite.com/.