30 Days of Poetry Love with Rhonda Y.C. Johnson

Credit image: Poets.org

It’s day four and I have with me today an interview by fellow She Writes member Rhonda Y.C. Johnson!:

What was the first poem you’ve ever read?
In the Morning by Paul Laurence Dunbar. I first read in elementary school after joining a poetry group.

How has poetry influenced you as a person? Or as a writer?
What I respect about poetry are poems, particularly epic poetry, that tell a story. In addition to Dunbar I’m thinking of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven, and of course Maya Angelou, and even some of Shakespeare’s odes.
There are many relic poems (and poets) that were my early intro into a love affair with words, and storytelling. Incidentally, what is ironic about poetry is in addition to it being the oldest form of writing, it continues to be the breakthrough to novel writing, for both past and present writers. It certainly was my intro to writing novels and full-length books.

In your opinion, what makes a poorly written poem?
Poetry that flirts with words but tells no story are the least moving. I’ve written a number of parched cauterized pieces; you know… the ‘everyone seeing shining stars, blue skies, and wah, wah, wah!’ …’Something like the feel-good do-righteous posters coming out in droves nowadays.

How would you persuade a non-reader to read poetry?
I’d create a greeting card inscribed with a personal original poem, written by me to my non-reading friend.

Is poetry useful?
ABSOLUTELY. Please revert back to my second answer. Poetry is the best way to familiarize oneself with vocabulary and language.

Bonus Rhonda also shares with us today a poem she wrote:

Romancing a Stone

This chap,
an obtuse, rotund, perturbed
obviously portly brainy old knap
stuffed in a lounge chair chugging on a pipe
furrowed brows looking disturbed
his own doing, his own plight
apparently a literary sponge in his own right
dribbling rhetorical sentiments
in a hardened ashy voice
talking about life
and its nascent vernaculars of choice.

Miffed and rightly perturbed
I grabbed the phone and dialed back home,
plagued by who on earth would hack a nugget,
desecrate nature, it really hurt.
I mean, critique the work, don’t lucubrate its worth.

Okay. Okay. And Uh huh, Uh huh.
Let me calm down and start back over
with the scholarly imperial old fella
and his comrades in the back row
who without inquisition or provocation
he first, and then the back row
grabbed a drill and each took turns
to mow and sow into harden clay, dried and stoned,
over and over, they took turns,
performing a lithotomy into stone not meant to churn.

Filled up, juiced up, stuffed old rustic doorknobs
masticating over dawdling things,
the portentous fed up greedy snobs,
groveling over a desert tray too small for their eyes,
oscillating impervious hyperbole I now realize.

Should the Sahara cover up and hide from tears in the sky,
and at least one penguin be made to get up and fly?
Must a right or left be the absolute mandate
and Mother Nature’s storm of itinerant children
be taught obedience?

What happened?
Were they looking for salt less sultry,
sharing a fact unknown
pushing beer nuts and cheese up their nose
where they preferred they not go?
Or had insolence shared a brand of Merlot
they already knew,
tell me, who’s doing who?

Wait, wait. I went into the phone
asking back home to please hold on,
for drilling into hardened clay a little too long,
trying my damnest to romance a stone.

© 2008 (Inside GEM by RYCJ)

RYCJ is a reader, reviewer, poet, author, illustrator, and independent publisher. Writing in a mosaic of genres, from memoir to novels; spiritual, historical, multicultural, erotic, romance, short stories and poetry, she has written nineteen books, titles all created, illustrated, and published by OSAAT Entertainment founded in November 2008. Sometimes it’s not enough to simply refer to RYCJ as a book lover. To read her work, is to encounter a literary experience. You can follow her at:

Personal Blogs: OEBooks and RYCJs Book Reviews
Website: OSAAT Entertainment
Amazon: Author Page
Twitter: OEBooks

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