In many ways, I was a typical teenager. I spent a great deal of time in my room. I listened to music and wished I was anywhere but where I was at any particular moment. And starting sometime during my sixth-grade year (I was eleven at the time), I started writing poetry.
I fell in love with Edgar Allen Poe. I had dedicated journals where I would painstakingly copy the flowery, overwrought poetry I’d ‘perfected’ on simple notebook paper several hours before, and I suspected that one day they would become collectors’ items when I was older and much, much more famous.
I still have those journals. Sometimes I open them up, sift through the pages, and feel mortified fondness for the poems written there.
My poetic style is more sparse than before; I became enamored with haiku and tanka and never really looked back. It is very difficult for me to write a poem that expands beyond a half a page. But that poetry was the beginning of so much more…
Like most poets (and writers in general), the same themes come up all the time in my work.
Despite what some think when they meet me in real life, my inner world can be quite dark and filled with shadows.
Themes of loneliness and heartbreak abound. A turbulent and fractured spirituality colors perception and experiences. The desire for connection is overwhelming and the emotional distance between myself and others seems quite real.
It’s one of the reasons I love Poe so much.
His work is romantic and melancholy, much of his work is somewhat autobiographical, and there is a spirituality in his words and his imagery that feels just as real as it is symbolic. It resonates for me now just as strongly as it did when I was an adolescent.
In addition to other projects, such as “The Bells of Reine” – a short fiction inspired in a loose sort of way by Poe’s poem “The Bells” – and my haiku anthology, I’m compiling a collection of poetry and short fiction entitled “Ophelia’s Tears”.
“Ophelia’s Tears” will explore themes of romance, heartbreak, my struggle with gender stereotypes, bisexuality, as well as darker elements like anger, trauma, and feelings of despair.
Some of those poems and short works will ultimately preview here on The Writings of J.S. White and I hope you enjoy them if, and when, they make their appearances. It is also my hope that they will resonate with you as much as Poe so often resonated with me.