Michael Lee Johnson comes from Itasca, Illinois
How long have you been writing? I started writing in 1968, 49 years ago, I am now 70 years of age. I missed about 8 years of writing poetry since it did not pay money and in the old days with typewriters and no photocopies and all by postal services and never hearing back from editors I quit for a time.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a writer? My steadfastness even with shortcomings in grammar, spelling, and syntax make me more determined and not worry about competition. I had cancer in my bones in my legs ages about 6-9 missing most of grades 1, 2, and 3 formative years for the basics in English.
What projects of yours have been recently published? I cannot keep up with my on records. I used to list every acceptance 1 by one in detail. Now I create a folder, toss them in that folder, and move on.
Where can we find your work? Nearly everywhere. A fragment. Simply type my name Michael Lee Johnson, poet, Itasca, IL. into Google. I run 10 poetry sites for poets to submit to, two Facebook poetry groups one with over 14,500 members. I have been nominated for two Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/and two Best of the Net 2017. I have over 145 poetry videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. I am Editor-in-chief of the group poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762 and Editor-inchief of a second poetry group anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses that is now available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089. Ken Allan Dronsfield is my Co-Editor on both anthologies.
How do you react to rejections? Water off a ducks back. Since I have functioned as a poet/editor/publisher over many years-I understand there are so many reasons for rejection. Here are just a few reasons for rejection: never read the submission to busy just reject it, personal, business, family, health issues with the editor, they simply don’t like your style, you didn’t follow guidelines automatic rejection, you forgot there was a theme on this issue, you submitted too late, the list is endless.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? With joy and gratitude and a thank you to God. Another sentence fragment. Another fragment. The day I stop being excited by an acceptance is the day I stop writing poetry.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Get drunk and pray, and do not forget your welfare check.
What is your favorite book? The Bible followed my Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse.
Who is your favorite author? Carl Sandburg.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? I do not believe in fiction, even though on occasion my poetry is unreal.
What makes you laugh? Choking on a lollipop and getting cotton candy on the end of my nose.
What makes you cry? Seeing the passion of Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord.
What is your preferred drink while you write? I drink vodka with Crystal Light. I find editing is a sober business, poetry writing is for drunks-not quite, a few drinks adds to creativity by blocking everything else out, increases focus; too many drinks and I’m worthless.
Shakespeare or Bukowski? I assume you are kidding, reading Shakespeare in elementary school and high school is one reason adults never go back to poetry. I even write in a similar style as Bukowski and have been compared to him a few times. (Verb Use (consider revising) (Passive Voice) I am more subtle then he is but I have lived on the street and have slept in my car or van many times in the past. My favorite Bukowski poem and video is “Blue Bird.”
Personal website/blog: http://poetryman.mysite.com/
Books for sale and/or press: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/promomanusa
Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762
Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, which is now available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089