Johnson published three collections of poetry in the 1910s, including A Little Dreaming (1913), Visions of the Dusk (1915), and Songs of the Soil (1916).
Songs of the Soil was reviewed in Poetry Magazine in June 1917. The issue of Poetry where the review was published can be found here.
Through the 1910s, Johnson collaborated with his peers on a series of mostly unsuccessful publishing ventures, including a magazine called The Champion (1916) as well as second magazine called The Favorite Magazine (1918-1919). Both magazines quickly failed, and Johnson re-published several of the short stories he wrote for The Favorite Magazine in a collection of short stories called Tales of Darkest America.
Johnson published several poems in predominantly white modernist poetry magazines in the 1910s and 20s, including Poetry and Others:
- "Three Negro Spirituals" by Johnson appeared in the June 1918 edition of Poetry, "The Lost Love," "How Long, O Lord!" and "Who Is that A-Walking in the Corn?"
- Johnson's poem "Tired" was published in Others and then re-published in The Book of American Negro Poetry in 1922.
- Two of his "Negro Spirituals" were published in the December 1921 edition of Poetry, "A Dream" and "The Wonderful Morning."