“His poems are of plain speak and verbal music, of erudition and common sense. They are learned poems, but they are also accessible. And, most of all, they are deeply felt.”
Davis McCombs

“Undoubtedly, this is a work
headed for literary permanence
in our collective ear.”
Major Jackson

For the more than forty years J. Chester Johnson has written verse, his work received praise from writers and poets spanning several decades – from, among others, Allen Tate and Nobel Laureate I. B. Singer to current, well-known poets, such as Molly Peacock and Major Jackson.

Available at Amazon.com, St. Johann Press or at your favorite book store!


Now and Then by J Chester Johnson

“The scope of NOW AND THEN is epic. It provides its readers with the same amplitude of intelligence, passion and formal achievement as our great American epics – Melville’s MOBY DICK, Whitman’s LEAVES OF GRASS, and Ginsberg’s FALL OF AMERICA. It is a book of fierce spiritual and moral witness, energy and power.”
Lawrence Joseph

Now available on Amazon Please click here

Johnson’s drama in verse, “For Conduct And Innocents,” about the martyr and 20th century theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was presented as a multi-media event (drama, music, dance, film) on Oct. 18, 2015 at Trinity Wall Street with nearly 50 performers participating.
Click here to see the full performance.

To read the full text, click here.

“I love the Bonhoeffer play...The whole dynamic of moral indignation and spiritual ardor, combining and recombining there in endless variation – a quality the lyrics also possess – made the reading fascinating.”
Vijay Seshadri

“What an amazing undertaking – so impressive in scope, intent and understanding. This must have taken years of energy.”
Molly Peacock

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- Reflection and Reconciliation: The Elaine Race Massacre – Delta Cultural Center, Helena, Arkansas on Sunday, April 23, 2017 Click here for more information.

- J. Chester Johnson Signs "In The Rows". Click here for more information.

- J. Chester Johnson With Display of His Iconic Poem “St. Paul’s Chapel” Click here for more information.

- J. Chester Johnson Reads Poetry at Deborah Danner's Memorial Click here for more information.

- J. Chester Johnson reads his poem, "St. Paul's Chapel," at the Calling of the Names ceremony 15 years after 9/11. Click here for more information.

- J. Chester Johnson is featured in NBC New York article. Click for more information.

- J. Chester Johnson appeared at the Cornelia St. Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village, NYC; 6:00PM, Sunday, June 26th. Click for more information.

- Based on multiple requests, the serialized article, Evanescence: The Elaine Race Massacre, published in Green Mountains Review, is being reposted. Click here to access the composite, complete article.

- J. Chester Johnson read his poetry at the main NYU bookstore, 8th St./Broadway, in New York, 6:00PM, Thursday, April 14. Click for more information.

- Appearance at Heavenly Rest Episcopal Church, 90th and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC, on Thursday, Feb. 25th, at 6:30PM. For more information, click to blog.

- Moderator for reading/discussion by Reginald Dwayne Betts at Trinity Wall Street, Parish Center, 2 Rector Street, NYC, on Sunday, Feb. 21st, 2016. Click here for commentary on Betts’ poetry by J. Chester Johnson.

- Presentation at 9/11 Tribute Center (Ground Zero in New York City), Tuesday, December 15, 2015 (click here for photos and more information)

- “For Conduct and Innocents” A Multimedia Performance, Based On The Drama In Verse By J. Chester Johnson (click for more information, performance and text)
Took place on October 18, 2015 at Trinity Church, New York, NY

- Posted on The Best American Poetry Blog – "Working with W. H. Auden: Illuminating Interview with J. Chester Johnson in ILLUMINATIONS"

- J. Chester Johnson interview in ILLUMINATIONS Magazine (click for more information and interview)

- Lecture on Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologian and Martyr (click for more information and written remarks)
Took place at Trinity Wall Street, Broadway and Wall, NYC, Sunday, June 14, 2015

- Ricks On Dylan (Bob, Not Thomas), published in Literary Matters (click for more information and full article)

- Click for info, written remarks and audio of "Poetry: Uniting Commerce and Verse to Enhance Life and Work"
Panel discussion held on March 4th at Poets House, NY, NY sponsored by the Senior Committee of the Harvard Business School Club of New York

- Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a sermon at Trinity Wall Street, January 18th, 2015
Click on link above to watch video. Provided by Trinity Wall Street.

- “Auden: Defender at Dusk,” published by Green Mountains Review in late 2014. (click for more information and full article)

- Article in THE EPISCOPAL NEW YORKER (click for more information and full article)
“After Sins of the Fathers, Steps Toward Reconciliation,” written by Lynn Goswick

- Upcoming: J. Chester Johnson will be interviewed by Ann Cefola
in the June, 2015 edition of the literary journal, Illuminations.

- Downtown Panel Will Tackle Legacy of One of Nation's Deadliest Race Riots
By Irene Plagianos on DNAinfo New York

- Symposium on The Elaine Race Massacre: The Racial Conflagration That Changed American History
Held on Saturday, September 20th, 2014, at St. Paul's Chapel, New York, NY (See details on Blog)

- "In The Rows": A Poetic Tribute

- A Massacre in Arkansas: Facing Love and History
Published on Best American Poetry Blog

- Johnson Was Featured Poet at Kairos Poetry Café – November 17, 2013
St. John's Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, New York, NY

- Mogadishu and Verse
Tom Sleigh at the Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center. Article Published in Literary Matters

- Becoming and Unbecoming Henri Faust, Part I
A four-part series of articles published on Best American Poetry Blog

- Becoming and Unbecoming Henri Faust, Part II

- Becoming and Unbecoming Henri Faust, Part III

- Becoming and Unbecoming Henri Faust, Part IV

- If One Note Is Missing: C. D. Wright’s One With Others
Published in Literary Matters

- Evanescence: The Elaine Race Massacre
Appeared on Green Mountains Review in four installments.