with J.D. Casey IV
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
J.D. I entered a Halloween poem contest in grade school, won first prize, and that really fanned the flames.
My earliest influences were writers like Poe and Frost; as I got older I started getting into the beat poets. Then I discovered Hunter S. Thompson, and that’s when my passion for writing really sank in. All literary genres. not just poetry.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
J.D. : Ron Whitehead, hands down, that man is a powerhouse of poetic energy. Not many people have dedicated their lives to the craft the way he has. He went all in, and I love that. That’s where I strive to be in the future.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
J.D.: I was born in Colorado, grew up in Louisiana/Mississippi, moved up to Illinois a few years ago, and I’ve done my fair share of traveling. Mostly by bus and train. It’s most definitely an influence on my poetry and art. I love to draw and paint as well as write.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?
J.D.: Cajun Mutt Press. Literature is extremely important to me. I like to believe I’m doing it justice by getting the words out into the world. I publish featured writers on our website every Mon/Wed/Fri, and full-length poetry collections in paperback.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
J.D.: When it saved my life. I got in a bad accident at work in 2008. Broke C2 in my neck and T3-T4 in my back. Then on top of several other things that were piling up, my mom passed of cancer in 2009. That put me in a tailspin of self-destruction. Eventually, I had to enter rehab. Once my mind was clear the poetry and art started pouring out like never before and I realized this is what I wanted to do in life. It brought me out of the dark.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
J.D.: I like to collect things. Books, bones, crystals, toys that I grew up with. Stuff like that. And I always like to have music playing. I’m a huge Deadhead but I love all music. I have pretty eclectic taste.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
I Hear Your Music Night and Day by Dave O’Leary was recently published by Cajun Mutt Press in May, and I have a few more books lined up before the end of the year.
People can purchase a copy of I Hear Your Music Night and Day by following this link:
“Poetry and short prose about the musical life and the lost words of youth, about the places where love might be found or misplaced and dreams not quite made and celebrity encounters and being short on funds and the necessity of bus rides and bus stops and homes and the small moments that resonate and, of course, cats.”
Manuscript submissions are currently CLOSED, but if you’d like to submit some work to be considered as a Featured Writer send 1-3 poems to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a bio and author photo. All unpublished work, no simultaneous submissions. Please be patient for a response. I get a ton of emails.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Well, it isn’t a single line, but this is one of my personal favorites that I’ve written…
A Shortlist of Things I Learned by my Late-30s
god has tits
jesus was black
the only race is human
life after death?
we’ll all know
. . . or we won’t
anger and hatred is a cancer
you gotta let that shit go
we’re labeled men and women
but we can be what we want
including something else
love who the fuck you love
cats are assholes
but cooler than dogs –
okay, that one is just an opinion
the world fucking sucks sometimes
but it can also be pretty cool
so it balances itself out
friends come and go
you’ll know the real ones
they stick around
or find their way back
money comes and goes
spend that shit
can’t take it with
but you CAN be buried with it
. . . because fuck ’em right?
when you reach a certain age
you start writing dumb lists
to put things into perspective
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
J.D.: My Beautiful Muse, Raissa. She’s my proofreader. I show her everything, and she’s always honest. Tells me if a line sounds wrong or suggests little edits here and there. She’s usually right.
BIO: James D. Casey IV is an artist, award-winning poet, author of seven poetry collections, and founder/editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press. His work has been published in print and online by several small press venues and literary magazines internationally.