Interview at Wombwell Rainbow

I recently did an interview with Paul Brookes over at Wombwell Rainbow. You can click here to read the full interview. Even if you aren’t interested in the interview, take a few minutes to check out his site. He has a great project happening right now with some amazing writers and artists.


Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

River Dixon

River Dixon

has unknowingly found himself trapped in the incessant heat and beauty of Arizona. It is here, along with his family, that he finds solace stringing together words in an attempt to find a structure or sequence that may one day make sense of all this.

Links:

http://thestoriesinbetween.com

http://pottersgrovepress.com

http://amazon.com/author/riverdixon

Twitter @Potters_Grove

Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

It’s difficult to say when, exactly. Growing up, I was always writing something. Poems, stories, songs; whatever struck me. As to the why, I suppose I’ve just always had a desire, or motivation to try and create something worthwhile.  Along with that, I’ve always been quiet and withdrawn. Never comfortable around people. So, maybe, my attempts at the written word are a way to compensate for my failings with the spoken word. I think we’re all looking for something, and writing is my medium in the search.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Emily Dickinson. I’m not sure of my exact age, probably in the third grade, but I saw a list of famous people who had the same birthday as me. Her name was on the list and I was curious as to who she was. I went to the school library and found a collection of her poetry. I’m sure I didn’t understand most of it, but something in her words hooked on to me. From that day forward, I spent a lot of my recesses sitting under a tree reading her and Virginia Woolf.

2.1. What did you find in Dickinson and Woolf?

I think a lot of what fascinated me with them both was not just their work but each of them as a person. With Dickinson, the fact that so much of her poetry remained unknown until after her death. There’s always a certain romanticism associated with the artist who leaves behind such a literary legacy, having never achieved any recognition in their lifetime. Her reclusive nature. How she spent a great portion of her life in isolation. I wanted to know why. And the “darker” themes of her work appealed to me. And not just her poetry, but the collections of her letters that have been published. It’s possible that I have spent more time with her letters than her poetry.

With Woolf, I read about her life before I actually read any of her work. The sadness of her days, the manner in which she took her own life. I thought about that a lot. And I think that is partly how I eventually came to understand/believe that there is a certain beauty to be found in tragedy.

2.2. Why did the “darker” themes of Dickinson’s work appeal to you?

Hmm. That’s a good question. I’m not entirely sure. It’s just something I’ve always been drawn to. There’s a lot of hands reaching out of the darkness. I think there’s a part of me that wants to find a way to connect with even just one of those hands. And in acknowledging my own selfishness, perhaps that connection can help me to understand some of the things I carry with me. With so many voices screaming into the void, why is it we never seem to hear one another? I want people to understand that they are not alone. And with that, convince myself of the same.

2.3. So how is poetry a means to say to others that they are not alone?

Words have the potential to break through the belief that we are all alone in this. That nobody understands or cares. When we come across a piece that we can relate to, that feels as if the author were writing about us directly, then a degree of that loneliness falls away. Staring at a page of sequenced words and realizing that I am not the only one who feels a certain way is a powerful thing. I believe that we are all connected and that poetry has the ability to rekindle that connection.

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

A dominating presence in regard to what exactly? As far as personal preference, I’m definitely more interested in contemporary/free form styles. I realize there are some people who subscribe to the school of “proper” poetry, but I’m not one of them. Nothing against it though. I’m a believer in writing whatever you want, however you want to.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I take advantage of any time that I am able to devote to writing. It varies. First thing in the morning is preferred but I often find myself scribbling into the night.

5. What subjects motivate you to write?

I rarely write anything starting off with a subject in mind. What happens is, I tend to get a word or line stuck in my head and I go from there.

5.1. Please could you give an example from a recent poem that you wrote how it developed from a word or line that stuck in your head.

There’s really nothing exciting or interesting to the process.  With my piece, I Understand Goodbye, it started with the line ‘my failures surround me’ and thinking of that, I just wrote it. For poems, I always jot down a rough draft in a notebook, and then I smooth it out while typing it up on the computer. That part varies from piece to piece, as some require very little editing while others require a lot. And quite a few of them end up getting deleted because they’re garbage.

Click here for the rest of the interview

48 comments

  1. I literally know nothing about you but we’ve been reading each other since I began here a few years ago.
    That said, you touched on something that I’ve always contemplated. What effect does knowing personal things about a writer have on a reader? And even more so, does it enrich the experience or ruin it?
    With the understanding that there could certainly be extremes of things that would influence an experience negatively, I think in most respects it’s enriching. Anias nin was to me like Dickinson was to you, I loved her journals, her letters, anything personal I could find about her.
    It’s nice learning more about you, on that same note.

    I also have to say this was one of the very best interviews I’ve read here. Questions were quality and precise to a perfect extent and your answers were effortlessly articulate. 👍

    Like

  2. What a treat to get to know you more, River. =) Emily was one of my first muses too. I was drawn to her obsession with death, probably because I had the same fear/fascination since a time before memory. I wasn’t a gloomy kid, but circumstances and events turned my mind that way. What you said about in questions 2.2 and 2.3 really touched my heart. I feel the same. And though I believe that we are not alone and that, even while we feel we are, our feeling of isolation is false, simply knowing that isn’t always enough to keep the darkness at bay. I like how you listen to the darkness and write from it sometimes. The integration of both makes life much more interesting. ♥.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Starting to wonder if we are the same person… Emily Dickinson… Sylvia Plath… and Langston Hughes… were the three poetry writers I keep coming back too in my school books growing up… there were just something about their work that was dark… real… and struck me… even when I didn’t understand… know why… or even like poetry at the time… I couldn’t get enough of those three… Great interview… always fun to hear how others get it done… it really is such a random process from sentence… thought… paper… to computer…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for doing this, River. I’m one who believes that a personal connection with an artist (however small it may be) humanizes them and deepens/enriches the content. I enjoyed reading the interview in its entirety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot, Tara. I agree with you. I’ve typically turned down interviews because I instantly get uncomfortable when people start asking me questions. But there’s value in putting yourself out there a little more. Plus, Paul was easy to work with and made it relatively painless.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent interview–Paul did one with me a while back, and he’s definitely terrific to work with. I love what you said about writing what you want to write and avoiding trends–stay true to yourself and eventually you’ll find someone else who loves what you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this, River! I love that your two early poetic influences were such amazing women. It doesn’t surprise me. I so often find you and your work so beautifully unexpected. Your work has often kept me on WP when I felt like leaving.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am not that much into horror, but Penny Dreadful I found very good. My sister says she looks like me. haha
    But the emotions and feelings in this serie are very well translated. Anyway, one of the best series I saw.

    Liked by 1 person

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