Words are magic, and I’m on a mission to bring poetry back, much the same way that Justin Timberlake brought sexy back. It’s not a new idea, but I hope that my poetry is accessible for everybody—literary types, Facebook friends from high school, dudes on the street, and even my parents.

I call myself a bard, a brand of poet who traditionally practiced a journalistic accounting of the truth. When I write, I am always looking to create human connections between myself, the poems, and the community. The magic of poetry is this shared emotion and experience, allowing us to seek the truth for ourselves.

Born and raised in Silvis, Ill., I now live a few miles down the road in Moline. I love having my home in the Quad Cities, where the Mississippi River runs east to west and time is kept by the train whistles along the banks. I spent 10 years living in Missouri, Florida and Chicago, before finding my way back home with my wife and son.

My poetry has transformed as I’ve traveled around the country, but I never lost my love and connection to my home. The strength of the river, the pull of the oft struggling but always striving community, and some of the best hills you’ll find in Illinois.



Q. Are you really a bard?

A. Absolutely. I write on commission for patrons, I work at an ad agency (which is basically the same thing), and it’s my favorite class in Dungeons & Dragons.


Q. Do you have a bio that’s a little more suited for an introduction? 

A. Yes! Rather than my musings above, feel free to use this more professional sounding intro:

James Patrick Schmidt is a storyteller for hire. He is a poet, media strategist, and speaker who brings people together. Following the bardic tradition, JPS puts his attention into telling great stories for his clients, patrons, and causes. Forever a student of both the medium and the message, he believes the magic of stories come from the human connections they create.


Q. Is it true that you are the inspiration for Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack”?

A. I can neither confirm nor deny that fact.


Q. Are you the same guy that’s involved with the Optimist Club? 

A. Yes! I am heavily involved with my local club as well as the District and International organization. I’m so honored that you found your way here. If you’re looking for me to talk about the Optimist Club, hop on over to the contact page and reach out.


Q. What is your karaoke song?

A. …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. Consider this dibs.