JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
A. Jarrell Hayes, author of The Poets Are Dead?
(A. Jarrell Hayes)
This 40-poem collection is part tribute to the dead, part celebration of the poetry in life, part affirmation of the god within humanity, part homage to our eternal spirits.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write The Poets Are Dead??
A. Jarrell Hayes: I got the idea for the poem used as the title in 12th grade English class. We studied dead poets–Shakespeare, Robert Frost, etc–as if there weren’t any living poets around. I had similar experiences in college. So I wrote a poem where a few of the dead poets I studied are kept in a zoo run by Apollo, the ancient Greek god of poetry.
Then I went through a dark period in my life, and I began thinking a lot about death. Where do we go after life? Why are the living try so hard to avoid death, when they know it is inevitable? Does god exist? I put my thoughts on paper.
JP: What sets The Poets Are Dead? apart from other books in the same genre?
AJH: The poems talk a lot about death but not in a morbid or melancholy manner. I believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our spirits are eternal.
With this collection, I chose to use poetry as life in order to celebrate the life in death. That might sound a confusing now; the poems offer more in-depth exposure to this philosophy.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to The Poets Are Dead? getting out to the public?
AJH: Perseverance and self-confidence. It takes a lot to publish a book. It all starts with having the guts to put your creative work on display to be judged, fairly or unfairly, by the public at large. Then I surrounded myself with good, supportive people. The ones that give you their honest opinion using the voice of love.
I write in order to connect with people. Forming connections is very important to successfully publishing a book. I kept my eyes open to opportunities and made my own when there weren’t any. It takes a certain level of fearlessness to be an author.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish The Poets Are Dead??
AJH: I started the book with its oldest poem in the collection, which I wrote in high school 11 years ago. In writing this book, I felt it was a journey into my soul more so than with my other books. The process had me get into what it means to be me; a task of self-discovery.
Then I put it away for a few years, came back to it, and saw how I have evolved as a person from then. In a sense, it became a growing entity. It definitely took on a life of its own. I shifted focus of the collection a few times before it matured to what it is now.
JP: What’s next for A. Jarrell Hayes?
AJH: I am currently writing a collection of gritty short stories inspired by various television shows, a chapbook of poems about being rundown by life, and two fantasy novels–one about the relationship between gods and man, the other about amateur archeologists and their expeditions.
Thank you for the interview.