Born and raised in New Orleans Louisiana on February 11, 1981, aspiring poet Joe Thomas found his family as his “beginnings” towards his artistic path. With a family history full of musicians and singers, Thomas found his purpose after writing a dream he once had at the age of 15, which in-turn, became his book of poems titled, Love and Lust: Concepts From A Dream. Nonetheless, I had the chance to discuss key elements in his poetic journey, and for many others aspiring to do the same.
Q: When did you start writing poetry?
A: “I started writing (journaling) my dreams at the age of 15.”
Q: What were the dreams you had when you was 15?
A: “Jumping for long distances- distances that were recorded for my knowledge to Greek mythology.”
Q: What was your perspective on jumping and Greek Gods? Was it literal and/or metaphorical?
A: “The feeling of jumping which lead to track and field because I wanted to get that feeling of flying again”
Q: How long does it take you to write the poem?
A: “I written the poem as I hear it—I only write what I would like to hear. I love to hear things that are sweet to the ear.”
Q: Can you write a poem in one setting?
Q: Can you write a poem for someone else or do you have to be inspired in the moment?
A: “It’s easier to write for someone else. It’s like a cheat sheet. It speeds up the process. Sometimes I yell at work, ‘Somebody give me a topic’ so I can overcome writers block.”
Q: What do you notice about the evolution of your poetry?
A: “Poetry started off as journal entries and then they ended off as love.”
Q: What was your journey as a poet?
A: Age 15-Journal entries- Dreams that I had the previous night
Age 18- Love Poems
Age 19-21-Heartache: I got into the “Slam Scene”
Age 21- I stopped writing poetry
Age 27 “I started journaling again which was reminiscent to when I was 15. Then I started having beautiful dreams. I was blessed with a number of beautiful dreams and I would write down the high points of love in the dreams-and they were poems.”
Q: What inspires you?
A: “Beautiful art and nature.” Joe also credits Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Browning, Spice and Goapalay.
Q: Do you pray or meditate?
A: “I pray. I’m always praying throughout the day because I know how powerful prayer is. Prayer nourishes me. I meditate once a month. It connects me to the atmosphere and the universe. After a while you are one with the deep bellow. Meditation is deep and powerful. It keeps me well balanced and refreshed. The Law of Attraction-it boils down to that. It’s what you ground yourself in.”
Q: Do you do any other art forms?
A: I rap. A lot of people would say that rap music is poetry. Poetry and rap are in the same family. I don’t listen to the words I listen to the structure. Rap is genius.”
Q: Why do you write poetry?
A: I write to inspire other people. If it is a journal entry, I write it for therapy.”
Q: As a poet is there any topics that is “off limits?”
A: Poetry is like comedy. If you don’t want to get hit, get off the train tracks. There are some poems that you write and some you perform, but you should write all of your poems down.
Q: Is there any advice that you have for an upcoming poet?
A: “Read and listen to great poets from before.” Also, “Write your poems down, and then condense it as much as possible-at least that’s what I do.”
Q: Which poem are you most proud of, and why?
A:” I am most proud of my poem “Late Night” because it was most depicted out of all of my poems. I was able to make it step by step to build the poem. It is about a woman who got the answer to her relationship. I was inspired by a dream that I had”
Q: How do you feel when you hear other people’s poetry?
A: I wonder where they were coming from when they wrote that and how many people they inspired.”
Poetry not only expresses one’s thoughts in the most valuable way, but has the ability to unite many audiences. As Joe Thomas once said, “My poetry can bring a nation together. Not because it’s my poetry but because the Holy Spirit inspired it. It’s a matter of continuing doing what you do.”
You may follow Thomas’ work through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joethepoetIsaw.