John Evans is a prolific poet who churns out new verses with a frequency that can only make onlookers jealous. This jealousy is compounded by the fact that his work is good; beautiful, melodic, insightful, and touching, he dares greatly and succeeds greatly. With a selection of self-published books up on Lulu, an assortment of poems featured on Legendarium Media, and local reading events, John keeps himself busy. And this April, he will achieve his goal of finally being published by a publisher, as ‘Adam’s Lament’ will be released this April by Oloris Publishing.
When asked to talk about his history as a poet and his thoughts on poetry, John responded with his usual eloquence and insight:
“I began writing poetry when I was very young- Likely around the time I lost my eye-sight. I was about five and a half then and was confronted with a brave new world of darkness. Hoping to mitigate my afflictions, I turned to Tolkien and the verse found in his books for inspiration. I read Beowulf and the Icelandic Sagas when I was hardly twelve via whatever accessible copies I could get my hands on. It was not an easy process, and much of my early attempts at the craft were mere shadows of what they would become. Yet, over time, I honed my artistry and turned my thoughts towards composing the next great works of the American poetic canon.
Building on the foundations that authors like Milton and Joyce had formed, I hoped to create a similar mode of verse for my present generation. While I continue to respect and admire the contemporary bards of this crazed eon, I sought to piece together what Eliot called “A heap of broken images.” Following the horrific events of 9-11 and the Iraq War, America was growing more disillusioned with itself. Many dreamed of a gilded Camelot that they could turn to for stability and strength. Yet the great continent had slid under. Prose and verse works of the 2000’s reflected a mind-set focused wholly on the gritty and the realistic. Almost each work of cultural history or mythology received what many have dubbed The Dark Knight treatment. In numerous ways, the writings of J.R.R Tolkien fit this cultural void. The Jackson films rekindled something that had been lost- Some of the history- some of the legend- some of the myth. Yet when the Return of the King left theaters, it seemed as though our entire landscape lay dim.
My writing often reinstates the mythological and the heroic alongside these contemporary Post Modern tendencies. I mainly write in free verse, but the language which I use does not stoop to mere jargon. Patterns of modern speech and ancient verse are blended to form a completed whole whose cohesive structure reflects a union of themes. For example, my long poem, ‘Judgement,’ utilizes Latin dictums excerpted from the Catholic Liturgy while addressing popular social and political issues facing our century. I do not shy away from the blood and guts. I simply address them from a cosmic scale. Only then can I narrow my creative perspective toward the intimate. Yet this logic or mode only applies to my more didactic pieces. I also write love poetry- and love is almost always intimate and personal.
I have always thought that the art of writing is the art of loving well. Unless one sees the world with an open heart, one cannot come to see the kingdom of God. Often poets attempt to capture an image for themselves which can stand the test of time. But in reality, that image becomes a larger cornerstone depicting the sublime. What is the sublime? Many have seen it as the numinous or the divine. They turn to Plato’s understanding of the forms. But when do we see those forms? When do we see the face of God here on earth? Is it when we go to church? Is it when we sit down to write a poem? Is it when we sleep? Is it when we rise? In reality, the source for our creative inspiration has always lain right under our very noses. The answer must be love. It is written in every man and woman’s smile. It is etched into every child’s laugh and every grandparent’s aged story. It is at the center of the universe itself. If ever there was proof for the existence of the divine, love is the answer.
Therefore, every author, no matter how churlish he or she might be, must begin with love. The individual’s passion binds him to the whole. When I sit down to write and compose a poem about my own life, I am taking part in the same emotional cycle that Homer and Dante drew from. I am forging a new tale out of the purest gold and praying someone out there can find paradise through my words.
That is my end game. That is my goal. Sure, it is rather ambitious. Yet it is the best I can do, and I hope my audience can appreciate some fragment of it.”
John’s book, ‘Adam’s Lament,’ is up for pre-sale in the Oloris Publishing bookstore. It can be ordered at: http://olorisbookshop.com/collections/books/products/adams-lament