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!”
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
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.
Another bank of covid fog just cleared away! I discovered that Red Wolf Journal published a couple of my poems – Hummingbird and Boxing at Mar a Lago – back in October of last year. I missed the memo – no excuses! It’s a fine journal and I thank the editors most humbly!
Haiku is the most contemplative writing discipline. I turn to it when ending – or trying to begin – large projects. The respect for words haiku requires affords both healing and new focus. Now and then, I write a good one. The Haiku Journal just published one such in issue 66. Scroll way down!
WELCOME!I've dedicated my life to literacy and literature for young people. I'm sixty-three and don't intend to change my focus now. I hope that this site will contribute to both! I hope it will be of use to kids, parents and teachers who love to read.
For Kids: I want to know what you think of my story! Writing can be pretty lonely and authors like to hear from readers. Ask me questions about Chaos Gate and I'll do my best to answer them as quickly as I can.
For Parents: I want to know what you think of my story! I'd also like to know how this website can best help you, what activities here are most effective and what you would like to see me include in the future.
For Teachers: I know how hard you folks work. I'm offering you effective, interesting activities to accompany Chaos Gate, whether you're reading it aloud to your class, using it in small groups, or simply have one or two students reading it on their own. I have (or soon will!) comprehension questions, vocabulary activities and word find puzzles in pdf format for every chapter. Check them out and take what suits you best.
Robert's story "Joaquin's Gold" just won the
2010 Art Affair Western Short Story Contest. The story brings legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta back to Central California during the 1880's in a search for hidden treasure. Robert hopes to produce a book including all of his Joaquin Murrieta stories. Stay tuned.