Category Archives: Accolades

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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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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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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More Gold!

From a new review of Joaquin’s Gold: “What child wouldn’t want to read these tales?  Walton paints a very accurate and descriptive picture of the area and  the characters are vivid and realistic. And, what about all those flashing knives, drawn guns, wicked ghosts, caves, gold bars, really bad guys?  His depiction of Murietta in his later years shows a man who has come to terms with his life, who doesn’t deny his wrongdoing and who knows he is no one’s hero. Students see that he is a multidimensional character as opposed to  a comic book caricature. Hero.

As a retired public librarian, I have read many such tales and local histories.  Most of these were for adults OR children and the writing and vocabulary level did not cross over.  These are very readable tales for anyone interested in California  legends and histories.” 

Liz Cecchi

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Pure Gold!

I’d like to share a review of “Joaquin’s Gold” by Canadian author and poet Mary Daurio:

“Joaquin’s Gold, by Robert Walton, is historical fiction wrapped up in an action-adventure envelope. A 19th-century historical character, Joaquin Murrieta, the famous bandit, is the central character in these eight stories that incorporate many legends of old California.

Joaquin is a bit of a conundrum. In one of the stories, a Mr. William Randolph Hearst said about him, “Wild, savage tales swirl about you, yet you are a gentleman.”*
Reading the stories, I felt this way as well.

The prose flows smoothly, and the author’s poetic bent shows up to the reader’s delight in some places. Here is an example from the story. The Wreck of the Annabelle Lee: “Gaslight burst bright from crystal chandeliers and turned linen tablecloths to fields of snow.” *
While as an adult, I enjoyed these stories; middle school children could read and appreciate them. Robert Walton wrote them to enhance his teaching at that level, and their warm reception prompted him to compile the tales together in this volume.

Any story can be read and understood on its own, but they form a cohesive unit that will open up the history of California and make it vibrant and very much alive. Something readers of any age can appreciate!”

Here’s the Amazon link:

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Tenaya Moods in Red Wolf Journal

I thank editor Irene Toh for including “Tenaya Moods Shared” in Red Wolf Journal. Yosemite’s beauties – especially Tenaya Lake – are sources of spiritual regeneration for all who visit them. Covid has severed us from those beauties for more than a year and our spirits suffer. Words are cabnot substitute, but I hope mine will help a little.

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