Poet Interview #7: Brent Danley Jones


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you
start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired
you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?

Poetry was my first interest in writing, as it can be quick, cutting, and concise–which works in well with my attention span. I remember first reading “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” in high school and having my stomach churned in 5 lines, that’s when I think I first realized the power of poetry. Most of my major influences, however, have come from the slam poetry scene, as the power of delivery can really carry the intent of the poet through to the listener.

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of
the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each
day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is
changed since you began writing poetry?

My poetry is a mix of wordplay and a desire to make a point, often playfully lulling between the two for effect. My idea of poetry has changed in time with time, yet I still look back at a few of the things I wrote when I was 19 that actually surprise the adult I am today, as having some greater insight than I would have given myself for the time. So without having a specific guide to writing, I think my subconscious was always trying to better understand emotion and expression, and the strength of my writing came from the honesty of that perspective.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that
fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

I have a secret Facebook page at Brent Danley Jones, Writer and an even more secret blog on Blogger with the same title I update when I want some feedback on a new idea of writing, poetic or otherwise, but I suppose I don’t prioritize either with the effort others do, as a kind of business of the self, instead mostly using it as a digital collective to show small pieces or look at the scope of works over time.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your
work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

As I live in Japan, where less than 1% of the population speaks English, congregation can prove difficult, so I mostly rely on readers I established from my time in the US in years previous. I’ve been consuming new-wave poppy classics of modern time more than anything, and am currently thrilled with “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain as something new and interesting in terms of style and content.

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying
to get their work noticed?

Share. And the scale doesn’t have to be large. The best motivation has usually come from two or three people reading my work right in front of me as I nervously await some manner of reaction, and ask questions of what works. You can’t beat that live effect, and it’s worth getting over stage fright of showing your writing to get it. I can’t count the wonderful poets and poems I’ve known that haven’t seen their fair share of daylight. Give any and everyone that chance to read what you wrote.


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