Introducing Author Damon E. Johnson
Damon E. Johnson is a freelance writer and poet currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. The Vineyard: Exploding Grapes is his second book of poetry following his stellar debut collection, Rhythm in My Blues. Like fine wine this exploration of love and desire teases the palate as you experience the bitter and the sweet in an explosion of emotion released by his pen. It is with great honor that we introduce to you author Damon E. Johnson.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Hi Damon, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Damon: Thank you for the opportunity.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Damon: I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. I’m the second oldest of four children. (Kym, Tammy, and Ryan) I attended Savannah State University and received a BBA Degree in Marketing. I am married (Deirdre) and have a 10 year old daughter (Sydney). I love reading, writing and listening to music. I’m a former football player and an avid sports fan.
Creative Talents Unleashed: So when did you fall in love with poetry or writing in general, when did you decide this life was for you? Tell us a bit about that discovery process.
Damon: I first fell in love with writing and poetry in general when I was in the 11th grade. My high school English teacher (Mrs. Cynthia Smith) used to challenge me in my writing. She told me that there was an entire dictionary filled with other words besides the ones that I seem to use frequently in the essays I was submitting. I began to scan the dictionary for words that I could use to replace the ones I had become accustomed to and found that she was indeed correct. My world of words opened up. She then tabbed me to write a poem for our newly crowned Ms. 12th grade, and introduce her at our rising senior’s banquet. I used to try my hand at song lyrics but this was the first poem I had ever written. I instantly fell in love with the way the words came together. I began to search for different poets and found an interest that I would never neglect.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Why do you write, what is it that you’re trying to communicate through your work?
Damon: I write because I love the way that I can take a word, phrase, picture or vision and turn it into a poetic expression. And so I’m trying to connect on some level with the person reading my poetry.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Where does your inspiration come from, what might inspire you at any moment to write a story or poem?
Damon: I am inspired by life. There are so many emotions that everyone experiences in life, and I try to capture those emotions with my writing. My favorite topic is love. Love is universal. It is the one thing that connects us all in some way. So at any moment I maybe inspired by a vision of love, a memory of a love past or conversation about a love on the horizon. And I’m certain that if I pen the emotions connected with my inspiration I’m going to connect with someone who feels the same way or has felt that way previously.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the hardest thing about writing your book?
Damon: The hardest thing about writing this book was coordinating which poems should be a part of this collection. I had a theme in mind for this book and I wanted every poem to speak to that theme.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the easiest thing about writing your book?
Damon: The easiest thing about writing this book was the poetry itself. There were several poems that did not make this book. However, I was pleased by how the writing just flowed.
Creative Talents Unleashed: There are many authors who say that in the process of writing a book you learn things about yourself. Did you learn anything in your book writing process about yourself, if so what?
Damon: While writing and outlining this book I realized that I had a gift for writing. I always felt like writing was something that I was destined to do. However, it was during the writing of this book I discovered how easy the words flow when they come from a place of acceptance of my God given gift.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What in your view is the role or responsibility of a writer or poet, if there is any?
Damon: A writer has a responsibility to be true to himself and write what’s on his heart. He should not continuously rework or edit his words to the point where they don’t resemble his original feelings. You can’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Because that’s what people connect to.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What are your ambitions as a writer, where do you hope to see yourself in say 5 years?
Damon: I want my words to reach the masses. I believe that I have something to offer the literary world in the area of poetry. With love being the focus, in the next 5 years I want to continue to connect with people on a special level that increases with every book. I would also love to one day sit on Oprah Winfrey’s couch and discuss how I got into writing poetry.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Who is your favorite writer or poet? Perhaps you have a favorite quote from them that you would like to share.
Damon: I have several poets who I just love; Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Mary Oliver and Billy Collins to name a few. My favorite quote is from Nikki Giovanni. She once said, “One good line in a poem makes it valuable, just as one bad line in a poem doesn’t make it valueless.”
Creative Talents Unleashed: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who have dreams of publishing or making writing a career choice?
Damon: My advice to aspiring writers is to just write! I believe that everyone has a story. It’s whether or not you have the courage or conviction to tell it that makes the difference. So allow your pen to run free with honest emotions that will liberate you and possibly inspire others as well.
A poem from his book The Vineyard ~ Exploding Grapes
The End of Words
When birds spurn flight
When moths avoid light
When flowers refuse rain
When hearts welcome pain
When soil rejects seeding
When lips deny needing
When fish abandon streams
When poets ignore dreams
© Damon E. Johnson
Preface . . .
“Like a vintage wine love seeps through our skin quenching hunger’s thirst.” Dark, rich and full bodied, only begin to describe this wonderful blend of poetry contained in The Vineyard: Exploding Grapes. It is a bouquet of love and desire with a spicy undertone of lust. A very generous wine of words, this second collection of poetry from Damon Johnson takes the reader on a poetic journey, and with its smooth attack it is indeed, full on the palate with a lingering finish.
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