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
The centuries long struggle for racial justice and equality continues. I am honored to have two stories about this struggle included in the Saturday Writers’ new anthology, “Duck Plucking Time” and “Sockdologizer”.
Some decades ago, I recall sharing a campfire with an old friend. Campfire talk led us to recalling childhood experiences, his in a Jim Crow borderland state, mine in deep South Alabama. This conversation eventually sparked a fictional exploration of our shared history – “Duck Plucking Time”.
Historian Jim Bishop did a stellar job of detailing the traumatic events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination in his book The Day Lincoln was Shot.
I saw a chance to employ his work in a fictional treatment of those events. By creating characters, adding dialog and basing my story on Mr. Bishop’s sequence of events I hoped to pull young readers into the history by putting them next to the characters, both historical and fictional. “Sockdologizer” is the result. It won first place in the Saturday Writers contest for youth fiction.
Please view the teaching materials I’ve prepared for Sockdologizer on TPT. I’ve made both scripts for the story and classroom activities:
I just received the official award certificate for “Sockdologizer”. It won first place in a most competitive contest and I’m proud of the result. You teachers out there, please take a look at the activities I’ve prepared for this story on TPT. They include a scripted reading of the story – a most powerful teaching tool!
Abraham Lincoln entered Ford Theater on April 14th, 1865 and walked down the dress circle’s aisle to his doom.Historian Jim Bishop did a stellar job of detailing the events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination in his The Day Lincoln was Shot.
I created characters, added dialog and based my story on Mr. Bishop’s sequence of events. I hoped to pull readers into the history by putting them next to the characters, both historical and fictional. I was a great fan of Walter Chronkyte’s show “You are There” and tried for the immediacy that was one of its most powerful elements.
I’m most pleased to tell you that this story just won first place in the Saturday Writers “Everything Children Contest”. I hope this story, once published, will find a YA readership.
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.