James Casey IV has poetry in his bones, an ancient soul, and a hopelessly romantic heart. James is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi that currently resides in Illinois with his Beautiful Muse, Raissa Ann. He has been writing and creating artwork for over twenty years and is known in the poetry scene as The Madman Philosopher. His style of writing is Outlaw Gonzo Pirate Poetry. James has got a BLOG and has authored six BOOKS of poems, and his most recent title is Death & Love/Love & Death published October 13th, 2018. Mr. Casey is also Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Cajun Mutt Press that publishes other Outlaw Gonzo style writers. He has been extensively published by literary magazines and small press venues as well, including Outlaw Poetry, Beatnik Cowboy, Triadæ Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Dope Fiend Daily, Under The Bleachers, Zombie Logic Review, Horror Sleaze Trash, Expat, Tuck Magazine, and several others internationally. James mainly spends his time writing, but also enjoys practicing magick and cooking Cajun cuisine.
The most pleasant of all subjects: Tell me about your Muse?
I met Raissa through my poetry. She was my biggest fan for a long time, following my blog posts and commenting here and there on my other social media profiles. Then our correspondence blossomed into a relationship. When we first began talking I lived in Mississippi and she lived in Illinois. Then I started visiting her by train and bus rides, which actually produced more writing inspiration, and eventually, I decided to move up north to live with her. My first book was dedicated to her because she pushed me to keep going in times where I felt like putting down my pen. We’ve been together now for a little over three years, and I love her with all my heart. I have poetry to thank for bringing us together.
What is the best compliment you’ve received from your Muse? How did you reply?
She once told me, “Your words have intrigued me longer than we’ve known each other.” My response to that was, “I feel like our souls have collided multiple times on multiple planes before we ever met. I had no idea that the universe’s algebra would have led us here, but I feel we met long ago in an ancient love’s dream.”
Is your Muse your soul-mate as well?
Yes, I also believe there are three different types of soul mates and she is all three of mine. People have soul mates in the romantic sense, the true-self sense, and the platonic friendship sense. I love her like I’ve loved no other, we bring out each other’s true self, and we’re best friends. It took us a long time to find one another, but we’re a perfect fit. When you find someone you can sit and talk to or laugh with for hours and be wildly attracted to at the same time it’s like the cosmos align. That is what she means to me, she is the aligning of the cosmos in my soul. That’s the best way I can explain it.
Are you also inspired by eroticism?
I’ve written some erotic poetry, but that isn’t really my forte when it comes to writing. My work is mostly surreal visionary work, a stream of consciousness writes with an outlaw twist.
Surreal visionary sounds appealing, can you quote your favorite lines?
I can’t pinpoint a favorite quote from my writing, but this is something I’ve been working on today…
I can hear the dark
into the void
on the senses
Beautiful! What do you expect from near future globally?
Globally? Well, it’s hard to say. I’d like to believe that our future is bright, but the way things are going all over the world right now it isn’t looking so good. Hopefully, peace & love will prevail. I don’t want to get too political, but I’m not a fan of what’s going on right now when it comes to big government. Yet that’s only one of the problems we have as a whole. I think we all need to come together globally and realize we’re all in this together. Honestly, I fear for the future of our planet and the future of our children at this point.
Thanks for your frankness! Have you ever studied writing?
I was in advanced writing and art classes while in Jr. High and High School. I didn’t go to college but I still study writing. I’ve been putting words to the page since I was young, and I’m always learning. After twenty years of writing, I’m still far from being a master of the craft, but I also believe good writing isn’t something that can be taught. You either have it or you don’t. Writers write that’s what we do, it’s a passion. Reading is also a big part of it. A good writer is constantly reading. That’s another form of studying the art. I love to read. I’ve always known that this is what I was meant to do, writing and art have always been a part of my life and always will be.
What’s one thing about writing one cannot learn?
A writer can’t be taught to find their own voice. It’s not that they can’t learn, it just can’t be taught. A writer, no matter how much schooling he or she has, that cannot express their own voice isn’t doing the craft justice. They should be able to make the reader feel something. Connect with them on a deeper level than just conveying something they were taught to do. Good writing isn’t all about how well you can punctuate a sentence, or what you’ve been taught, it’s how you get the message across with feeling that counts.
Wonderful! Teach me some magick, as if I was a complete novice?
Magick is the science and art of causing a change to occur in conformity with your will. It has to do with being in tune with your surroundings and focusing your will to bend the envelope around you. Thoughts are things that can be willed into fruition if you’re on the right wavelength.
Is not practicing magick greatly responsible in this case?
Yes, of course, but don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not saying you can go around zapping lightning from your fingertips. The magick I speak of is more like a subtle self-improvement technique. “I think therefore I am” so to speak. Positive vibes yield positive results. That sort of thing. Have you ever noticed how some people walk around with an attitude like, “Oh, poor me, everything bad always happens to me,” and it usually does? It’s because they’re willing that reality for themselves. Focus on the good, good things will happen, and vice versa.
Now I see…you practice something like Feng Shui – light magick
Who taught you magick?
I’ve picked up knowledge from several different teachers over the years. Most of what I know is possible I’ve learned through trial and error, and by looking inward. The majority of magick comes from inside of us. Learning to be in tune with our surroundings. The universe can teach us many things when we pay attention…
It’s a new dawn and a new day, and James has already started a pot of coffee.
How important is coffee for you and how do you like to have it?
I love my coffee in the morning. Usually, I’ll drink a full pot throughout the first half of the day. I have it with one sugar and a little milk.
What do you spend your money on, what do you need to have in your lifestyle?
Well, the money I make from my books and the other writers’ books I publish goes right back into the arts. I’ll either buy a friends poetry book or art some supplies which are usually for creating book covers. The only thing I really need in my life to be happy is poetry and art. Running a small press isn’t a big money making endeavor, I end up breaking even most of the time.
If people were your children, what would you want to teach them? Not in the preachy sense but in terms of values…
I would teach people that kindness is a virtue that is free, but worth more than any amount of money, and the most important thing in life is the liberation of the soul through poetry and art.
I have heard that anything which is not creative is boring… do you have heart for the more mundane parts of living – or are you entirely focused on creation?
Honestly, life shouldn’t be viewed in that way. I don’t see anything in life as being mundane, no matter how simple or meaningless something may seem it is still part of life and deserves to be done to the fullest. I am focused on creation but the simple things count too. Whether it’s sipping coffee and watching the sunrise, writing a poem, painting a picture, having a conversation with my Muse, taking a walk around the lake, or just sitting in silence pondering life. It all sums up to a part of the whole, and one is just as important as the other.
Very wonderful…I like your personality, I would say without knowing you have had a hard and rewarding life. Make a wish for Xmas? Or will you rather celebrate Yule?
Yes, I have most definitely had a hard and rewarding life. I’ve seen many highs and lows. Battled addiction and several other personal demons and broke my neck, and my back in 2008, lost my mother to cancer in 2009, lost countless friends to overdose and suicide which were hand-in-hand in many cases, and I have the tattoos and scars to prove it all but everything I’ve been through taught me to appreciate this life immensely. I make every day count to the best of my ability. As far as Christmas and Yule go, they’re the same thing. Just another Germanic tradition appropriated by the church and used as a tool to control people. The holidays have lost their meaning over the years. Now it turns people into greedy corporate bootlickers. I don’t celebrate this time of year. More than anything it just makes me sad. I wish it were different, but that’s how I feel.
However, James left all of us feeling a little more joyous after meeting him. Thank you, James!