The event is part of a triple book launch including my own book and one from Matt Humphries, with that in mind I thought it might be fun to sit down with Richard and get some more details about what we can expect from his new book and more.
Q1- Hi Richard. I am excited about your new book. Please, can you tell us a little bit about it and what readers can expect?
My new book Creative Waste is my fourth book of poetry, I first started work on it last year when I was a completely different poet to the one I am now and the book reflects that. Readers can expect my usual self-depreciating look at the world and myself plus poems about writing poems, a poem that isn’t a poem, poems about my family, poems written about all the dark things that live in my brain and poems about some of the happiest times in my life. Imagine a box of dark and light chocolates if purchased from Lidl.
Q2- You are an incredibly well respected and admired poet. How long have you been writing poetry and where do you draw your inspiration from?
If I’m to believe my mom then I was writing poetry at a very young age, given that I’ll be 48 this year that means I must have been writing a long long time indeed. Sadly, I don’t remember these younger creative years and I haven’t found any poetic evidence in my parent’s loft. What I do remember is starting writing sporadically when I left Polytechnic in 1988 and building from there to where I am today. My inspiration comes from all around me billboards, newspaper headlines, throw away sentences, song titles, magazine pictures and more. I have to carry a book around with me to write down all the inspiration or tap ideas into my phone in case I forget what inspired the inspiration in the first place.
Q3- I love reading your poetry and seeing you perform live. Do you write your pieces specifically for print or performance and is there any difference in the process?
Thank you. I mainly write for performance but Creative Waste will see take my first steps towards writing poetry specifically for the printed page or page poetry as I think it’s known? I think the difference and bear in mind this is just my opinion is that page poetry can’t be performed its written and laid out in such a way when its printed that this adds to the poem, but this cannot be replicated if the poem were to be performed. Performance poetry can sometimes translate fine to the printed page but depending on how it is performed with different voices for different verses or an element of audience participation then this might not work if the poem is placed in a book. Hedge your bets like I do and write both I say.
Q4- I would imagine this to be a tough question for you but, do you have a favourite piece you have written?
I often say the last poem I wrote is my favourite especially if I feel I put a lot of thought into it, if it was, for example, say a piece for a competition or submission. However, I do have a soft spot for my poems “Poets don’t carry Cash, “and “Cold on the Bus.” I’ll read these at any opportunity as I feel they both sum me up and a lot of people especially commuters like myself can relate to the latter poem, especially in winter when National Express decides to switch off the heating on their buses to save money. Bearing that in mind a wiser man than me once said our poems are like our children, we might have a favourite but secretly we love them all in spite of their imperfections or the trouble they cause us.
Q5- Do you think poetry is actively promoted nationally/globally as a prominent creative art form?
Good question. A few years ago I might have said no but with recent news that Prince William is looking for a new war poet, poetry is now on tv adverts, there’s poetry radio shows and podcasts seemingly everywhere, I would now say yes. Perhaps it’s not promoted as a prominent creative art form but certainly, poetry is something a lot more people seem to be aware of. Interestingly I’ve found over the years that I have a lot less hesitation and embarrassment in telling people that I consider myself a poet. Maybe this is because of the rise in the promotion and the popularity of poetry so those involved with the art form no longer feel they are on the edge of society, who knows?
Q6- What are your current creative plans? What have you got going on?
My major role/plan is to continue as chairman of the Walsall Poetry Society and keep organising open mics with the fantastic support we receive from Southcart Books. Plus we will soon launch the societies third charity anthology “Diverse Verse 3” this Spring to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I’ve also been asked to chair the Birmingham Stanza Poetry group so I’m busy organising workshops and more for them to take place over the summer. I’ll also be popping up at various open mics, running my own poetry workshops plus a few other surprises that are currently confidential until dates are set. You’ll also be able to find me at various open mics around the area and launching my own book alongside your good self and Matt Humphries on the 24th Feb.
Q7- Where can we find you online?