John W. Leys is an indie poet/author from Redmond, Oregon. He currently posts his work on his blog Darkness of His Dreams, which he started in 2016. John has been writing poetry since he was 14 years old and has had his work published in a variety of small publications, including Omnibus—the literary journal of the University of South Florida, and Byronmania—a now defunct online journal dedicated to the life and works of Lord Byron. He has been a guest contributor on several poetry related blogs, including: Blood into Ink, the GoDogGo Cafe, Free Verse Revolution, and is one of the poets featured in Nicholas Gagnier’s book All the Lonely People. His first book of poetry, The Darkness of His Dreams, was published in July 2019.
John was born in Long Island, New York, but was raised in Albany, Oregon. He began writing poetry in high school, largely inspired by the lyrics of the Beatles and Bob Dylan. John served five years in the US Army from 1991-1996 and was stationed in Gießen, Germany and Ft Sam Houston, TX. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from the University of South Florida and did his Master’s in Judaic Studies at the Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. When not writing he enjoys playing one of his five ukuleles and has been known to record music under the name Elijah Wilbury. He has a strong interest in philosophy, especially the ancient school of Stoicism. He currently lives in Redmond, Oregon with his wife—Justine, his son—Tristyn, their three dogs, and two cats.
John writes in a variety of poetic forms on a wide variety of topics. While he generally writes un-rhymed free verse, he generally lets the poem itself determine the form it takes. His writing draws on his personal experiences, world events, philosophy, religion, mythology, and whatever else inspires him at the moment. He takes to heart Allen Ginsberg’s advise that “To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province and your own consciousness.” and strives to write authentically and be true to his own poetic voice.
John has been influenced by a variety of poets and lyricist including Allen Ginsberg, Lord Byron, Walt Whitman, Bob Dylan, Taliesin, Catullus, Pete Townshend, Ted Hughes, John Keats, George Harrison, John Milton, TS Eliot, Sappho, Sylvia Plath, and many many others.
John’s first book of poetry, Darkness of His Dreams, was published in 2019. He also has plans for a second book composed of mythologically inspired poetry and is working on a longer prose project about the mythological/legendary history of the British Isles.
Darkness of His Dreams (2019)
Darkness of His Dreams is an intimate journey by way of verses—a sequence of poignant and thought provoking ruminations. Readers will travel the ages through the keen lens that Leys has trained on history, philosophy, humanity, and his own life experiences.
Walls full, pencil broken
Poetry flows on, scratched into the floor,
A spiraling binding protection circle of words
Writ with a broken bloodied fingernail.
Darkness of His Dreams is fine bourbon. Drink its words and feel pleasantly full.
© 2019 John W. Leys / Cover Photo by Justine Leys / Published by Broken Wing Publishing