When considering the phrase “period piece”, a free verse discussion of personal awareness is not the typical or immediate consideration. In Thank You For The Content, Johnson departs from depictions of Victorian era wardrobes and Mid-evil age plagues in exchange exclamations of confidence, and commentary on the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This collection of poems encompasses a spectrum of topics that feel familiar regardless of the demographic of the reader.
“I feel as some of my strongest work has come from discussing the topics many of us are witnessing today and the effects they have on us individually.”
Immediately noticeable is the lyrical layout utilized in each poem. Each poem reads with a rhyme scheme that creates a subtle melody that pairs with the dictation of varying punchlines. Crafting a body of work in this style brings forth the question of when do we label a rap verse as poetry? How do we make the distinction? Johnson focuses on the content and ignores these queries of limitation. When asked about his approach to wordplay he responds “In terms of a rhyme scheme, it varies. Normally I would do an aabb rhyme scheme. Sometimes I do slant rhyme. But when I’m writing, my main focus is to ensure I clearly get all my thoughts out on paper and then I go over it for revisions.”
When reading, often I would hear a song in my head that fit the flow of the dictation. I have always respected the active decision for poets to challenge the perceptions of free verse. One of my favorite wordplay moments, in this collection, can be seen in the confidence exuded in lines like “Reciprocation at its simplicity, You was the one taking shots, And now you stay missing me” (I Love Me). Other pieces of note are Olympia and Lady Liberty II. When asked how he came up with the title Johnson explains “a phrase I would begin to say was “thank you for the content” meaning instead of dwelling on the negative, let me channel this into something positive in my life and my writing.”
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