When I was in grade 11 my Computer Programming teacher basically kicked me out of her class. We were supposed to be learning how to program our computer to say the words “thank” and “you” through some bizarre computer language that constantly through me for a loop! I really detested that class. I tried but consistently failed – one day I started writing poetry, my teacher started reading my work and told me that I had a passion for writing and that I was practically wasting her time. I thought I would share this little story because it really did make me laugh when Robin shared in his interview that he used to write Software programs – because I had so flamed out! lol As a Writer/Poet we have the proclivity of writing about sensitive subjects woven in secret through out pieces. Robin Rich’s poems are always so cleverly layered and intensely thought provoking. For more information on Robin please follow him on Instagram at @rrichwords .
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
RR: I have had moments of doubt. Mostly written is by touchscreen and then often when walking. In regards writing, creation is generally unavoidable, it\’s like I have written therefore I will write.
Creative writing happened by accident in 2016 and by writing at least a haiku (not 575) a day it\’s a habit now that happen with the kettle click and my first shit of the day.
RMMW: We all have to deal with an inner critic, how do you contend with yours?
RR: This perhaps links to the writing block. \’The Doctor is in. Patty?\”. Basically, I cannot kick my own arse and have no doubts others enjoy arse kicking. I write freely publish first drafts for free. If I am the tree and a poem is a leaf on the tree, then one leaf dying is not a sign of autumn. To think like that would be awful and a little death of me. I use my inner editor to tell myself off and my off-kilter grammar can awake the doubt dragon but if the poem on reading again brings back the feeling that made it then the dragon goes back to fantasy land. I have an unusual relationship with words. My parents told me they caught me reading very young. They taught me the alphabet and I figured the rest out. It\’s like I rely own my words and this cannot be taken from me.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
RR: No. I recently finished a novella based on a random daily prompt word from Twitter. As I was writing for characters, I did start using techniques to get into a relevant emotional frame.
Also, when writing to a poetry form then I will read five or six examples to feel the rhythm and sound landscape then start writing. I used to write software and I think that trained me to be able to switch to writing in a rigid form. Later in my life I studied Law, and this again is writing (laws is written) where specifics of words and their order are paramount. I probably have rituals, but they are subliminal silent prayers.
RMMW: Tell us a little bit about your Etsy store, what do you sell?
RR: Just the book. It\’s a good way to sell paper copies globally. Walk to be Herd happened because a publisher was being difficult about cover design. This resulted in me looking into self publishing. I had the manuscript and ideas for the cover. I just played with the idea until the cover was done (full of clues about me!). Inside I had some illustrations but asked a friend\’s teenage daughter to draw from some of the poems. So it\’s on Etsy. I printed a short run and gave most of them to family. The rest are for sale.
RMMW: What is the main theme expressed in your book \”Walk to be Herd\”?
RR: It\’s a tumble really. A mix of poetry forms inspired by memories and feelings from walking through a damaged to society. The title is word play. A lot of the poems use the many meanings a word may have to create unique to the reader experiences. To be in a herd you need to be able to walk but as a society we should carry the injured. The title is a snake swallowing its tail. In our society you need to be heard or you are left behind. People who know me get to this symbolism quicker but it\’s not unfathomable. As mentioned next will be novella which is in edit.
RMMW: What writers do you enjoy reading?
RR: I read a lot and across a huge range of literary styles. Not reading at the moment. Have three books as gifts that are in a holding pattern by the bed. Reading is so immersive, and I am easily transported to another world such that I will lose days until a book is done. Just not got that luxury at present. I had it in my twenties when all I did was read and raved.
RMMW: What poetic style do you enjoy writing most?
RR: Sijo. It feels to me to be the grandparent of all the poetry that I have written.
RMMW: What inspires you?
RR: Anything that touches. The look in a kid\’s eye finding/losing a balloon. The shape of street person\’s mouth when a person passes by to when the next person stops. Currently getting a lot from local street art which is vibrant where I live. Being alone. Being in a crowd. Dancing. Songs. Sea. Sky. Land. Love and Hate.
RMMW: How do you feel the internet and social media contribute to the well being of poetry?
RR: In a five-minute attention span world then poetry can fit in. There\’s also a danger it\’s just a black hole sucking in progress of the form with soundbite emotional dumping. The distinction is completed collections and the ability to anchor that in a market via publication. I never read poetry before 2016. The internet means if I want to be inspired by past poets they are just there to be read. One poem I enjoyed writing was inspired by D Thomas and was grateful for his artistry.
RMMW: What do you feel most well written poems have in common?
RR: That the poet still feels the same way out of their words but … has moved on.
RMMW: What book are you reading now?
RR: I am need fully in the real world, presently
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
RR: Seen Endgame. ALL the best ones have been taken.