One Poet’s Process

Saturday Writers columnist Diane How published a brief interview with me conducted after my poem “Caesura” won the winter contest. Here’s what she had to say:

“April’s contest also included a first-place poetry winner. Robert Walton won with his twelve-line poem, Caesura. This brief verse journeys from burgundy October memories to hopeful emerald May eyes. I was surprised when Robert said he doesn’t write poetry. What???? 

Then he explained, “I never write poetry. Poetry writes me. An image or a thought seizes me unbidden and leads to the beginnings of a poem. That’s not to say that craft doesn’t enter in while I’m trying to find the poem’s truest shape.” Now that is poetic. 

His journey of explanation regarding where the inspiration came from is a story in itself. “One of the inspiring things about parenthood is that it never ends. Eldest son Jeremy was winding up his research project for the Max Planck Institute last autumn. He needed to move his stuff out of both his office and a pied -a-terre flat in 

Goettingen, Germany. Everything (a lot, believe me! Jeremy collects vinyl!) had to go from there to his family home in Zagreb, Croatia. He drafted me to help with packing and moving. In between the packing and toting sessions, he had professional responsibilities to fulfill. Pop had to stay out of the way and amuse himself. I often did so in the garden behind Max Planck’s HQ, a lovely, wooded place, good for reading while listening to the fountain and its brook. Ah, the fountain!” 

Robert’s simple advice to other writers is brief and powerful much like his poem. “Keep your eyes wide open — always!” 

And there you have it, folks. Keep your eyes open and your pen or laptop ready. Inspiration surrounds us. Now it’s your turn to write a winning entry and I can’t wait to read it!” 

Thanks very much, Diane!

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Gold Delights!

From a pleased poet:

“Joaquin’s Gold  — what a delight! I am still relishing these stories, re-reading and enjoying them again. Before I began, I especially enjoyed knowing that your students inspired both your research and writing. Once reading, I wished I could have been in a class that read, discussed, and wrote reactions to these adventures. Each chapter’s title is an inspiration to read!”

Sheelagh from Idaho

Help me out a bit by viewing the instagram link to “Joaquin’s Gold”!

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Lothlorien Publishes Well of Souls!

I’m pleased to share that my “Well of Souls” (rewritten once again!) has found a new home with Lothlorien Poetry Journal. I thank Strider for including it. Here’s the link:

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A Poem Honored by Saturday Writers

I belong to a very active, very supportive writers’ group called Saturday Writers. They just awarded a poem of mine first place in their spring contest. I am most pleased and honored!

February, March and April Poetry Contest ​
Themes: Mountains, Bodies of Water & Prairies 

First Place: Robert Walton for Caesura
Second Place: Susan Gore Zahra for Kansas Snapshots
Third Place: Billie Holladay Skelley for Mountain Lovers
Honorable Mention:Cathleen Callahan for Letter from the Frontier Prairie
Honorable Mention:Carol Roberson for The Church on the Hill 
Honorable Mention:Donna Mork Reed for Solitary Bird

Here’s the poem:


Burgundy leaves,

Swaying in October breezes

Escaped from coming winter,

Dip toward a brook

Soon to be ice,

Its chimes and murmurs

Not yet muted —

A conversation 

To be resumed

When bursting buds

Open emerald eyes

In May.


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The Civil War after Covid

Battle is joined.

Teachers and re-enactors created a dynamic civics classroom at San Lorenzo Park on May 20th. The students of Chalone Peaks Middle School participated with energy and intelligence. They emerged with experiences they’ll remember their entire lives, lessons about honor, sacrifice and the price of freedom for all.  

We began our day at King City Cemetery by honoring Civil War veterans buried there. Students read “Shiloh”, a great poem by Herman Melville. President Lincoln offered remarks about the difficult, crucial service the soldiers rendered. A rifle volley, a hymn played by Chris Andrew and taps ended our ceremony. We then marched on to battles, seminars and the Gettysburg Address.

Ed Haskell took great photos of the day. Please enjoy his work and the efforts of our young people.

Confederates march
Anxious Confederates
Union soldiers fire.
Cannons fire.
Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth share stories about the lives of slaves.
Lincoln gathers his thoughts before delivering the Gettysburg Address.
The battle continues.
Brother kills brother.
Lincoln’s words uplift.

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One Bee

Many things worry me, but few concern me more than the well-being of pollinators. Editor Jayne Jaudon Ferrer shared my One Bee on Your Daily Poem and I thank her for doing so! Here’s the link if you wish to take a peek:

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Gold is Popular!

“Joaquin’s Gold” is my long awaited new book: Here’s another enthusiastic review!

These stories bring the fabled Joaquin Murrieta, a notorious desperado with a heart of gold, to life. Readers will find the man and the era irresistible. The author finds this historical figure fascinating, and makes Joaquin real — he comes alive and is so likable! The settings and descriptions are fabulous also! I really liked this book! 

Becky Caufield, Editor and Publisher

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