James Daniel Johnson, known by his friends as “J.J.” or Daniel, aspires to be a succesful poet. He began writing poetry in jail, while serving time in 1997. Since then, Johnson has completed several collections of poetry and continues to write.

He plans to publish his newest collection, “This Will Make Ya Think,” on Kindle and also in print edition. 

One of the poems included in Johnson’s upcoming collection, A Lot Worse, gives a sense of the personal struggles Johnson has experienced, provides a brief summary of where Johnson has been, and where he plans on going.

“There is a poem in my collection for everybody.”

Johnson writes about religion, love, overcoming adversity, drug addiction, homelesness, and his time in prison.

“My poetry, for me, is a way to vent and express what I’m feeling.”

Johnson relates his material to what others are feeling too, and he thinks that is what makes his poetry powerful.

With five collections of poetry and a sixth on its way, Johnson is grateful for the many people he has met who have supported his poetry.

Johnson likes to work out, jog, listen to music, read his Bible, and put together sermons that he emails to friends.

Johnson wants to work with youth, sharing his story in the hopes of teaching lessons about the value of sobriety and independence.

Following a rough childhood, self-medication with drugs and alcohol pushed Johnson into a downward spiral.

“Addiction took me for a hell of a ride.”  A rough sentence in prison convinced him that he needed to get his life together, if only to avoid getting locked up again.

Despite facing obstacles in the pursuit of his goals, Johnson is resilient and has maintained his sobriety.

“I have a lot to be grateful for.  Sometimes when I want to complain, I say well, I look at the plus side – I am free, I am sober, I am healthy, I have potential, I got hope.”

Written by Sam Bermas-Dawes