• Bridney Casillas

In His Own Words: An Interview with Jerome G.

The Powerful Poet Discusses How His Poems Have Been Inspired by Human Interactions & Social Stigmas

By Bridney Casillas

Bridgeport, Connecticut poet and writer, Jerome G.

Jerome G. is a Connecticut-based poet and writer whose meaningful and impactful writings have allowed him to perform at numerous showcases, including Poetz Realm, a well-known performing venue for poets and artists to share their talent in front of a live audience.

His poems often discuss and touch on social justice issues and human interactions ranging from relationships to friendships and mental health to police brutality. The 36-year-old believes there are sensitive discussions most people are too nervous to have that his poems help bring to light.

He is currently writing his debut book of poems, tentatively titled [GROWTH] A Love Language, centered around healing and self-reflection. The book will also touch on the theme of what maturation looks like from his perspective.

The Bridgeport native was exposed to different mediums during his childhood and felt most comfortable with writing poems, noting that he organized and wrote all of his ideas and inspirations into a clear and cohesive story. Writing since 2005, at the age of 20, Jerome has been a poet and performer for 16 years.

Jerome spends at least two hours writing a poem in its entirety. He has written over 100 poems in total, saying that the majority are repetitions and foundations that helped built the strongest pieces he currently has.

Jerome reciting a poem at a live event. Photo by Letif B.

Hammers In Holsters is Jerome's most memorable poem, written in 2014 after returning to Connecticut from competing in a poetry slam in Oakland, California. The poem was written after the murders of Eric Garner and several other Black Americans who were murdered by police officers.

Another standout poem, titled As Men was written with the intent to initiate a conversation about men's mental health. He aims to break the stigma surrounding men in society who were raised and taught that is not socially acceptable for men to cry or show emotions.

He also hopes to spread awareness of why it is important to check on your loved ones. According to Jerome, men who are unable to express their emotions can be driven to commit suicide, acts of violence, and substance abuse, to name a few. By performing this poem in front of an audience, Jerome believes As Men can help start a conversation and save lives.

"I’ve been contacted on social media and after shows how this piece has related to a person's loved one or personal situation. It has also helped start the conversation on how to introduce help for themselves and others."

Jerome wrote As Men after he saw a meme with two frames: one frame depicting a cartoon man drowning held his hand out above water with the caption, "Men asking for help." The second frame showed a second hand reaching out and high-fiving the drowning man with the caption "Man up."

Jerome highly disliked the message behind the meme and decided to express his feelings and attitudes towards men expressing their emotions. His favorite pen to write with while creating is a ballpoint Papermate pen because it writes smoothly and clearly, describing it as his most interesting writing quirk.

"I’m most creative when I am busy doing what I am not interested in. I spend most of my rough draft writing time at work," says Jerome.

His favorite writers are poet Rumi, and deceased rapper, Big L admitting that he is "mildly" influenced by both creatives. If he could meet both writers, he says he would love to meet them in Morocco or at a Japanese bar. The foreign scenery would help him focus on the meet and memorize the details of the atmosphere.

According to him, both artists used their words creatively, and he would love to understand how they chose to write about what inspired them. Jerome also would ask them questions on how they disciplined themselves and what kind of books they read.

"Poetry has been therapeutic and healing for me. From seeing people cry and admit their troubles and hardships to inspiring young people to apply to college and everything between from hearing my work."

Watch Jerome G. recite his poem, As Men below.

Be sure to follow Jerome G. on Instagram @WordSmithApe, Twitter @WordSmithApe, and TikTok @WordSmithApe for updates on his poetry, new releases, and upcoming book. Subscribe to his YouTube channel to watch his poetry performances.

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