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February 2000, Richard J. Amoroso Interview sections you may visit (click)
Other poetry by Richard

Questions and Answers with Richard J. Amoroso:

(02/08/00 Dave G., Watchung, NJ)
Richard, I knew you were going to be the interview this month. Just by the way you were presented on the site. I should have bet on that. I also write poetry but sometimes I have an idea for a poem and it just doesn't work out. You talk about using your delete button (you called it a "computer guillotine"). Easy for you when writing poems comes so easy but what about the rest of us? I spend lots of time writing my poems. Not just 15-20 minutes like you do. And sometimes my ideas are very strong (profound and creative) and I think they would make great poems. I hate to lose these great ideas for poems. Do you have any real advice on how to make an idea work? Dave

Richard: Dave, first things first. Writing a poem is NOT an exercise in speed writing. It doesn't matter HOW long it takes. When writing, let the poem lead YOU. Follow it along its path. Use your your inner feelings, thoughts and desires to guide it. This is NOT rocket science. When writing, just put it down on paper, or the keyboard, or whatever. You will have ample time to clean it up later. Read to yourself several times over. Does it flow? Is there a direction? Who are you talking to? If it's for a lady, imagine you being her. Is what's in your heart on the paper? If it's supposed to be profound, do this. Write it, clean it up and don't go near it for 3 days. Then, pull it up and reread it. If it generates the same feeling that you got when you wrote it, then the poem succeeded. If not, see where it went astray. Writing comes to different people in different ways. There's not right or wrong way to do it. And, for the record, I use a moderate hunt and peck. I am NOT a typist. Good ideas have to be developed via trial and error. And yes, sometimes, you're gonna get frustrated. Goes with the territory......if it was all so easy, we'd all be poets..........understand?

(02/08/00 Marie Coletti, Orangeburg, NY)
Richard, your poems are very romantic and very appealing to me as a woman. You seem like a regular kind of guy and you write from your heart. Thank you for giving me a new perspective on men. I just want to know if you feel at all threatened as a man to reveal such a tender and romantic side of yourself? Do you think writing romantic rhymes can be a stigma for a poet, when the poet is a guy? Hope you don't mind this question, but I was surprised when I learned more about you through the interview. Thanks. Marie

Richard: You're very welcome. I feel threatened NOT in the least. What better way to make a woman float on the clouds then to put her there? I can't figure out why you'd ask if writing in rhyme is a stigma.......as to what? It's a challenge. As far as revealing the tender side of me, I never give it a thought - I just do it. All men have a tender side. Some just reveal it better. No biggie. We're all just little boys at heart crying out inside. It's the external veneer that creates the problem...... I don't get the stigma/rhymes/guy connection. You're mixing apples/grapefruits/oranges together. Makes for a helluva drink, maybe with some Absolut, but philosophically, I'm stumped......and what in the interview surprised you? That I'm just an average guy who drinks beer and watches football on Sundays?? Hey, it's a guy thing. And I have a lot of woodworking tools, I love my pool and I use to install oil burners a few years ago. I don't fit the stereotype "sensitive" guy mold? Well, surprise, surprise!!! Thats what women get for judging a guy before the first drink is even ordered!!! Think about it.....For you, Marie: that you may see, that if given the chance, a guy can be, your lock and key! richard

(02/08/00 Joe, Middletown, NJ)
Rich, I have a few questions for you. Do you mean to say that when you write a poem, you accept having your poem interpreted in umpteen different ways rather than having it known for the thoughts and feelings and situations you intended? You say that a poet succeeds on different levels when it is interpreted different ways by different people but do you succeed at all if what you mean is not recognized? Why don't you just tell others what your poetry is about?

Richard: Hmmmm, a toughie. Ok. When I write a poem, if I have to explain it, how do I go about doing that? Do I attach a disclaimer? A footnote? An IOU one explanation? No. It's just there. If we both look at a brand new Corvette and I like the styling and you like the sound of the engine, is it not the same car? Will Chevy be equally pleased? Of course they will. Joe, you're missing the point. The idea behind a poem, is NOT what I meant by it but what YOU, the reader derived from it....If, in the interview, Jay had asked me what my poetry was all about, I wouldn't even answer the question. Yes, some of it is personal, some of it is general, one is about sports and one is humorous in theme, but again, the object of ANY creation is the viewer interpretation, NOT explanation. If the reader gets NOTHING from it, then perhaps the poem failed on it's own merits. When I was asked specific questions about some of them, if you'll notice, I never directed the answer in that direction specifically. YES, the Yankee poem is about the team, but it's a self-explanatory tribute. All I do is blow them up, knot it, tie on a string and release them.....after that, they're on their own. There is NO hidden meaning to any of them ..... Joe? Can you just accept the words for what they say and not for what they mean?..........richard

(02/09/00 HoneyBelle, Virginia Beach, VA)
My boyfriend and I have been visiting this Poetheart site since Christmas. We both like poetry and this is a real nice site to come and browse around. We found it through a search also. I have always liked Dona Lou's poems while my boyfriend likes poetheart and Steve Hodgin. You are the first poet on the site we BOTH like. You are very talented and versatile. You appeal to both of us. I like your poem "Sunrise". Steve likes "Kitchen Wars" and the Yankee poem. I noticed that "Sunrise" is not mentioned in the interview (a great one by the way!). Is there any reason why this poem was not mentioned during the interview? Also Steve wanted to know if we could print out the Yankee poem from this site. Is that okay?

Richard: I guess Jay never bothered to mention that one. Ask the boss, I only work here......If Steve wants to print it out, I guess it's ok. But can you do me a small favor? Please give me the credit due? Thanks, Richard (and by the way, she never did go for Chinese!!!!)
*Poetheart comment: There were several poems not mentioned during the interview. And this was for several reasons. In the first place, not every poem can be discussed during the interview. Next, at the time the interview is being planned, a poem may not yet be received or posted. The interview highlights the work of the featured poet and is not all inclusive. Q&A is the forum for a more detailed and specific line of questioning. Poetheart would also like to mention that just because something is posted on the Internet, does NOT make it "public domain" as is frequently believed. Always ask the author for permission to print out any of his/her work and always give credit where credit is due. Credit is ALWAYS due to the artist/writer/poet.

(02/09/00 Doug L., Plymouth Meeting, PA)
Rich, I see you've accumulated quite a few poems on this site and you managed to do this in a matter of just a few weeks. I submitted just one poem here in the middle of December and got a response that it was "not accepted at the present time but would be considered for future acceptance" and that was it. Have all of your poems been accepted by this site? Have any poems ever been denied? Hardly seems fair to me when a guy like you has so many here. What's up with this? Doug

Richard: Doug, for the life of me, I have no idea why you received that answer. Nor have I seen the poem in question. Everything I've ever sent to poetheart was accepted. To tell you the truth, I write a lot. Perhaps Jay can better explain the response you received. Thank you for your question. richard
*Poetheart comment: Doug, I remember your submission to poetheart.com which you sent to me on 12/18/00. I still have it in my files. What hardly seems appropriate or fair is that you've chosen to ask someone (the featured poet) about the poem you submitted instead of writing to me. (Richard cannot answer why your poem was not selected - or even why his own were. Only I can answer that.) The proper forum to discuss your poem submission is privately via e-mail to poet@poetheart.com.

(02/09/00 B. Tremont, Richmond, VA)
What a big contrast this month's featured poet is to last month's! I realize it takes all kinds but Mr. Amoroso seems to be just a little too arrogant for my taste. His answers to questions from his would be audience are very abrasive and condescending. (There are no stupid questions - just stupid answers). My question to Poetheart is: What appealed to you about this month's poet (Richard) enough to select him as the featured poet? My question for this poet is: What is your true and honest opinion of your talent and ability as a poet?

Richard: I'm sorry if you perceive me as arrogant and condescending. I reread the interview a half dozen times and can't figure out where you came to that conclusion. Oh well...you're entitled to your opinion and I respect that. As to your question, I know when I've written something that might be construed as "good". It's just a feeling-the whole poem reads well, sounds well, and says something without rambling on. If anything I've ever written can generate a good feeling inside the reader, then I'm happy. If being able to do that constitutes being good, then the most I'll say about myself is that I'm not half-bad. Thank you for your question..........richard
*Poetheart comment: What appealing to me about this month's featured poet was his talent - his poetry. I selected him because I like what he says and the words he uses to say it. Thanks for asking.

(02/10/00 L.S., Newark, DE)
I enjoy visiting this site to read all of the wonderful poetry I find here. It is so refreshing to find a place with poems written by regular people. I enjoy your work very much. I have two questions for you. You MUST have a large collection of all yours poems, so what are your plans for all your poetry? Is publishing a book of poems on your agenda?

Richard: Thank you for your kind words. Back when I was a teenager first starting out, I amassed a large collection. Before I went into the Army, out of embarrassment, I chucked them all away. (Yeah. Fort Gordon, Georgia wasn't the best place to keep them). And then, I stopped writing for 25 years so I don't have as much as you think I do. What's not on poetheart's site is in private hands. It will take me a while to write enough to fill a book. And that's assuming I could interest anyone enough to want to publish it but at the rate I'm writing them, it might not take that long. I'm more interested in quality - not quantity. Thanks for the question, L.S........richard

(02/10/00 Mark, Boston, MA)
Rich, I like your work. Think you're a pretty cool guy. Liked the interview also. Maybe someday you will put together a collection of guy poems? You're not published yet? Have you tried? Thanks.

Richard: Guy poems!!! Love it!!! You must have read the Yankee one and the Kitchen one. To tell you the truth, I've never thought about doing that. Being a diehard Cowboy fan and a diehard NY Ranger fan, maybe I should have. But I wasn't writing back in '94 when they won the cup. But it IS food for thought.....I've had a few published in a poetry anthology, but other than that, no I am not published. Thanks for the suggestion. richard

(02/10/00 Gina Ferrara, Brooklyn, NY)
I have just one question. Why did you pick Robert Frost as your admired poet when you have not even read anything of his in years and years? Lucky for you that your answer was almost generic and could be applied to his work. I am wondering if you have ever read anyone else's poetry. It doesn't sound like it. You never referred to another poet in that entire long interview although you had many opportunities.

Richard: Gina, I picked Robert Frost because, if my memory serves me correctly, he was the only poet I could stomach in the 10th grade. Shakespeare? NO WAY!!! I once tried reading Walt Whitman. No luck, either. Yes, I do read other people's writings - if fact, I've read most of what is posted on poetheart.com. (A lot of it is very good!!!) I really don't make it a point of reading other peoples all that much. I don't know why but I just don't. Sorry. And if you'll notice, in the interview, Jay asked me about my work, not someone else's. I'm not well versed or steeped in the classics. Thanks for the question. richard
*Poetheart comment: Dear Gina, I remember your writing in to Dona in last month's Q&A and you were equally "aggressive" with your question to her. You have some valid points in your comments. During Richard's interview, I did not pursue questioning him about his admired poet (Robert Frost) because his answer "Since I haven't read anything by Robert Frost since the 10th grade, I guess I fail on this one." clearly showed his admission that he had not read Robert Frost in many years. When I asked Richard what he liked about the poetry of Frost, I think his answer was clear enough and not generic at all. This is the last time I will post any question from you in which you attack a featured poet to get attention. Your questions will be ignored if you continue. Now that you got the attention you were seeking, you can stop. Thanks.

(02/11/00 Bill, Cleveland, OH)
Richard, You're a funny guy. Been reading the interview and cracking up over your responses. You're too much. It's real refreshing to read down-to-earth poets as you seem to be. Sometimes it can get stuffy around the poet haunts. We need more guys like you. Good for you that you don't bow down to the BS so common among people who write poetry. You seem to be yourself and that's so cool. I like your honesty. I got a question for you. Actually I got two of them. First one is do you find all of your poems equally appealing and successful? And the next one is if you write your poems so quickly, do you scrap as many as you save? Thanks. Bill, Clevelan, Ohio

Richard: Ohio, eh? Never been there....Is that a suburb of Illinois? (Just kidding!) Equally appealing....hmmmm. Never thought about that. When I get finished with them, some strike me as more satisfying to write than others. Some I look at and almost say out loud, "not bad, RA, not bad".....others just hit me "so-so"...Today, I reread the Yankee one and it seemed like it still held up. Others, for some reason, are merely poems that were written to get the idea out of my head so as to not linger. "An Afternoons Thought" was written strictly because I felt like writing one. I'm not impressed with it one way or the other. If a person likes it, great! But it won't make my top 10. As far as what I scrap, I try to salvage some of the thoughts so as not to let it all go to waste. Have I ever written an entire poem, read it, then send it to cyberhell? No. And by the way, those stuffy poets - Are they the ones who reek of cigar smoke, cheap whiskey, illusions, and visions of replacing some other non-selling poet in the dusty shelves of Barnes and Noble? Spare me the coffee grinds, ok?.....I have no interest in joining the pseudo-elite......Richard

(02/12/00 M.V., Ventnor, NJ)
I really like the idea of being able to ask the featured poet a question. This was a great idea. Sometimes I just come back to this site to read the questions and answers. Very interesting. My own question for Richard is probably a little redundant and I am sure it has been answered if I look well enough in the interview, but I hope you don't mind my asking anyway. Richard, exactly what is the process by which you convert your thoughts for a poem into the poem?

Richard: Oh God, how do I explain the creation process........Ok, let me try this as best I can. Sometime during the day, regardless of when, I just get a feeling that it's time to write. I get either a "theme" or a line in my head. If it sounds like I can make something of it, I try to develop it. Sometimes (and this may sound ridiculous) a feeling just permeates me and I start writing it. I open up an AOL E-mail form and just start writing. That's all there is to it, M.V. It's just a feeling I get. Out comes the first line, the second line and so on. I try to develop what caused me to wanna sit down in the first place. This is very difficult to put into words. It's all based on one thing only - a feeling inside that says, "it's time" - Honest. Thank you for your question and Good Luck!!! richard

(02/12/00 Josh, Plainsboro, NJ)
I like to write poetry but never let my friends know I do because I am afraid they will tease me about it. Worse yet, they may ask to read what I am writing. I am shy about my poems because they are mostly about girls I like or thoughts about what things were like before my parents got divorced and their divorce. You do seem to be a cool guy and you write romantic stuff. You don't seem to mind having everyone know you are a poet now. But you said you destroyed all of your poems when you went into the Army. You must have been embarrassed about writing poems like I am. How did you get over it? How can I be less shy about my poetry? I have not even had the nerve to send any of my poems to Poetheart because I am such an amateur. How do I get more polished and less shy?

Richard: Josh, if you knew how nervous I was when I first sent Jay "through the eyes of a mirror" you'd feel a lot better I was petrified of failure. You would not believe it- I truly was. Luckily for me, he accepted it with open arms. Since then I've gradually lightened up in terms of being nervous. (He'll vouch for that one ). If, what you are writing is for a special lady in your life, then who cares what your friends think!!! The poem was not and is not intended for them. Yes, I did trash a lot of stuff before I enlisted in September, 1967. (I'm old, what can I say?!) but the urge to write never left. It just went on hiatus for 25 years. You seem to have a subconscious stigma about writing - that's from a lack of positive input and probably thinking that writing poetry is not a manly thing to do. I used to install central air conditioning. (Ever crawl around a dusty, strange attic in the middle of July?) Believe me, I used to get immersed in my poetic thoughts just to ease the agony of what I was doing....... REPEAT AFTER ME, JOSH, THE SOUL OF A MAN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS HIS WILL TO DEFINE HIS CHARACTER.......( I just made that up!!) In whatever mode you choose to express your inner most thoughts, they who make fun of it will be those who can't - and as far the your parents divorce goes, by writing you'll purge yourself of what's inside you and hopefully, that will give you the courage in later years to express your feeling rather than keep them locked inside. Ulcers ain't fun, my boy......richard

(02/12/00 Sally Nigro, New York, NY)
Richard, I really like your work and think that you are so talented. I especially like "Seasons of the Heart" and think it's a great poem. I understand what you said about revealing the secrets of a poem and having different interpretations is good. But what if one of the interpretations of your poem is totally off base? How do you feel then? From "Seasons of the Heart", I gather that you are looking back and reflecting on a long time love. I get that you are looking to a lasting love and letting her know that you realize the passage of time in love with each other and you have matured and mellowed past the urgency of new passion. Am I correct at all? Your use of "Mother Nature and Father Time" seems to also be a strong clue to what I feel about this poem. I also find the introduction to this poem very interesting. And that last line just sends chills up my spine. Thank you for such a lovely poem. Sincerely, Sally

Richard: Sally? You're a sweetheart! "Seasons of the Heart" is one of my favorites. I simply took a love, wrapped it in what makes a year be, and incorporated it all into that - it was one of the fastest poems I ever wrote. That one poured out of me as fast as I could type. I was very lucky that day, honest.....I am not going to dissect your interpretation. I wouldn't know how. "Mother Nature, Father Time, we'll lift our caps to cider and rhyme" it came out in a burst - it fit, I liked it, down it went. I NEVER decipher a meaning-I go by what sounds and reads best and as far as that last little tag line goes, I felt it needed a little "push" to get it past the finish line - and I thought it was a nice ending. Thank you so much for your kind words........and not too much cider, eh?? richard

(02/13/00 Jill T., Houston, TX)
Richard, I notice a "trend" beginning on poetheart.com and was wondering what you knew of it. Donalou had some work accepted for posting and had a few poems there. Then she was featured and suddenly there are more and more poems during the interview and the Q&A. Then you had one poem and just before you were featured, you had more and more and by the time your interview was posted, you had quite a few and during the Q&A you posted more. Is this the deal you poets make with the site? I also found out that last month's poet has her own site now. Do you have plans to do that also? Thanks. Jill T.

Richard: Jill, I honestly don't know what Donalou had posted prior to my arrival for the first time ever this past January 27th. I saw that she had several there but before the interview, I'm clueless. Perhaps Jay can sidebar this info. On 1/27, I sent him "through the eyes of a mirror" and held my breath. The next day, he e-mailed me requesting another. I sent "Seasons of the Heart"; same thing. Day 3 brought the Yankee poem. By then, circumstances being what they were, I was interviewed because someone else was sick. I didn't mind at all. I also had a few poems "in stock" which I sent. Lately, I've been writing a lot (about 1 a day). They are all sent and they are all posted. That's why I must look like I've suddenly sprouted a lot of poetry. It all happened VERY fast. I've know Jay since 1/27/00. Before that, I didn't know he or the site existed. I have no "deal" with poetheart.com. He can reject anything I send him at anytime - his prerogative.......his site. I'm just a contributing poet. And as far as me possibly having my own site, that has been discussed with Jay. It's in the talking/planning stage. As far as this becoming the norm with all future featured poets, Jill, I have no idea. Only time will tell with that. Thank you for your question.......richard

(02/13/00 Helena Rossi, Montclair, NJ)
I like writing poetry and wanted to submit some of my poems to this site. Is there a certain procedure and criteria for sending my poetry? You seem to have been quite successful here. Would you mind telling me how many poems you submitted in order to have as many as you have listed here? Are they on any other site?

Richard: Helena, the only way I know how to have anything posted at poetheart.com is the way in which I went about it. Under the page heading "Poetry", there is a blue hyperlink "contact me" and I cut and pasted "through the eyes of a mirror" and it started from there. As far as what criteria is employed, poetheart.com retains all rights to acceptance or rejection. Everything you see there from me is everything that I've sent (and there are 4 more that have yet to be accepted). Why that is, only Jay can answer. And I can be found nowhere else but poetheart.com. Thank you for your question.......richard

(02/13/00 Anne L., Piscataway, NJ)
Hi Richard, I was sincerely hoping to find more of your work on poetheart.com and am very pleased to see it, as well as to find you as this month's featured poet! I eagerly frequent this site and appreciate its growth and the amount of talent it harbors. I am not at all a poet and so I don't have a question for you. However, I am particularly taken by the love and passion your poems convey -- especially "Welcome Home" and "Seasons of the Heart". I find "Kitchen Wars" and "A Team for the Ages" to be very clever and also among my favorites. My compliments, Richard, and my thanks as well - for the pleasurable feelings you convey and for sharing your creativity, talent and feelings. Best regards, Anne, Piscataway, NJ

Richard: Anne, As far as how much I have posted, I'm working on it. Being in love and writing about love is tantamount to making love - love, for it's own sake, is giving one's heart away.....it makes February 14th a daily occurrence......as the old adage goes, "it is better to have loved, and lost, then to have never loved at all..." (Ohhh, to have been able to put my name to THAT line...I would stop writing now and never touch a keyboard for the rest of my life!) As for the rest of your compliments, I will not denigrate them with my feeble words other that to say that if anyone wants to know when a poet feels he has succeeded, then your letter will stand as a testament to that all too frequently unachievable goal. Thank you for your kind words. You are a gem.............richard

(02/13/00 Dona Pearson, Russelville, AK)
Dear Richard:Since poetry is very "subjective," how does one determine whether a poem is really good or not? I am a poet, too, and this question is always in my mind as I write -- not whether everyone else will think it is good - but whether or not it really IS good. How can one know? I love your poetry, by the way. Poetheart has done very well in bringing you and your work forward for others to see. Thank you for sharing it with us. Sincerely, Dona Pearson

Richard: Dona, I've been hit up with that question a few times. When does a poet know when a poem is good ? Last night, I wrote a poem called "It's all for you". In my opinion, it's probably the most sincere love poem I've ever written - very simple, very straightforward, deeply touching and, I hope, almost enrapturing. As you said, it's all very subjective. I could not agree more. But last night, I all but threw my heart against the glass screen. I don't have to tell you that the one word most synonymous with poetry is feeling......and last night, I felt it all. If I'm gonna slap the word "good" on any one of them, it's THAT poem. Thank you for the compliment. richard

(02/14/00 Billy West, Cleveland, OH)
Rich, How come you picked "For the Keeper of the Flame" as your featured poem (You picked it right?) when you talk about "Seasons of the Heart" the most? Your readers seem to prefer it also because I have seen questions and comments about that poem. Personally, I don't like either one. These are both too unexciting and rather average. But I do like the Yankees poem and the patriotic "Our America". So can you tell me why you picked your featured poem over your others? Thanks.

Richard: Yes sir, I did pick it. In hindsight, and considering the compliments I received about "Seasons of the Heart", I think I made a mistake. It never dawned on me that one would be as liked as it is (so much for what I know). When I read "Flame", it just hits me in a certain way. I liked the way it came out. It's hard to explain. I guess to you, it reads kind of "syrupy" but that's ok. As I said in the interview, there is no right or wrong interpretation to anything. Perhaps the Yankee poem hits you as a guy poem. By the way, you're the first person to mention the "America" one.....It was my first ever attempt at something patriotic - and guess what? It's my last. I goofed. I admit it. Thank you for our question. richard

(02/14/00 Dana, Madison, NJ)
First of all, let me tell you how wonderful I think your poetry is. Next let me tell you how great an idea it is to "talk" and have the opportunity to direct questions to a poet. Thirdly, I know it must be somewhat awkward to have to answer questions about your craft. I have read this question and answer portion of the interview over and over and realized how many different interpretations of what this Q&A is about. Some think you have to write poetry to ask a question here and others think the featured poet knows all - somewhat of a "Dear Abbey" of the month. And others think they need to ask a previously asked question in their own words. I do not write poetry. I enjoy reading poetry and I like reading yours very much. I am fascinated that I can actually ask you something. So I will ask you a question, Richard. My favorite of your poems is "Welcome Home". I think it is so sweet and seems to be written very sincerely. I would love to find out that my husband feels the way you express yourself in this poem. I am trying figure out if you wrote the poem from your own natural feelings or out of expression? How much of this poem is genuine? How much of it is the talent to express the idea of feeling the way you express yourself in this poem? Thanks for sharing your heart, your soul and your talents with all of us here. I hope to read more of you. Dana :

Richard: A most intriguing question, Dana. "Welcome Home" was based on a phone call one afternoon. It was easy to tell that she was having a bad day, to say the least. And it was easy to imagine a scenario that would lighten her load. I simply ran the whole thing through my head, and voila' - a poem. That's the story about that one. It was the natural feeling of wanting to do something nice that created the desire to want to write it. The talent and expression part of your question kind of goes hand in hand, I think. (a lot of gray area here). I imagine that talent is the ability to allow that expression to succeed in word form. If the poem elicited a very positive response from you, then - yes, a certain amount of talent was needed to make that happen; to make the poem succeed. The picture I painted in my mind was obviously a picture you liked projecting in your mind. On that level, the whole thing worked. From that, we can deduce that the talent level was in direct proportion to the level of pleasure you derived from it. I'm talking myself into circles here.....And how much of it was genuine? None. Nothing happened, but it did make for a nice fantasy.....Thank you for the brain cramp - and your question.....richard

(02/18/00 JerseyJoe, Freehold, NJ)
Richard, I like the easy way you are about your writing, but have you considered putting a little more effort into being a little less "poetic" in your words? Try being a little easier on the reader. Often the poems do not flow because you are not grammatically correct or use the wrong word to convey the thought. (Mostly true in your romantic poems). You ever thought about trying more natural language and less like you think poetry needs to sound like? (Specifically, your taking verbs and moving them to be more "poetic"). Please respond. Joe

Richard: Joe, I think I reread your question a dozen times. I went back into my collection and I think I now know what you're talking about. In rereading the romantic ones, yes, I agree, the grammar doesn't "read" correctly. Joe, it's not supposed to! As the words came out of my head, it created it's own "style", so to speak. I think had I written them in a more conventional manner, I would have destroyed them. The Yankee one, the kitchen one, the NY one, they were all written straight up in a grammatical sense. The romantic ones tend to come out of bit "poetic" sounding. It's just my style, I guess. As I said in the interview, I like to explore different ways, different styles, moods and forms. I don't wanna get locked into a particular "style". That gets tedious real quickly. Joe, can I make a suggestion? Try rereading the romantic ones slowly. They just might "read" better. Yes, I do know what you're talking about. But it's all a matter of style and nothing more. I'm sorry if you had a bit of a problem reading them. That was not my intent. Thank you for you question. richard

(02/19/00 Tammy B., Westfield, NJ)
Richard, I was in Manhattan the other night and your poem called "Soliloquy for the Solitude of Solo Strollers" came to my mind. I did not realize how visual it really was until its words came to mind. I really like the poem - more than I had thought. During the interview and in your answers to people, you give the impression that your writing comes very quickly and almost thoughtlessly. But I felt a lot like the "walk" you describe in this poem. It was the first poem of yours that I felt was "real". I know you've been asked this many ways and many times already, but please come clean and get real. What sorts of things inspire your poems and how do you bring your ideas to fruition? (Please don't give us this automatic writing in 10 minutes bull. You're a poet with a method to your madness. Just tell us what it is!). Thanks. Tammy

Richard: Tammy, there is no "method to my madness". (LOL) I simply get ideas, write them from there and that is that. I have no secret formula for doing this. I've been asked by a few people how I convert my ideas into words. It's merely a matter of absorbing what is around me. Frequently, I don't have to look very far for inspiration. You're the first person to mention the NY poem you refer to. I am glad that you like it but I DO take exception to your use of the word "thoughtlessly". If that were that case, then how would the words strike such a cord in you as it did? I put a lot of myself into them. Poetry is NOTHING if it's not about feelings. The same for art or anything else the requires creativity - Without the soul of the artist/poet in it, the work is meaningless. Thank you for your question.....richard

(02/22/00 F.C., Washington, DC)
Richard, Just had to write and tell you I think your poems are so cute. Something about your writing was interesting and then I had to buy a birthday card for my nephew - Your poems remind me of greeting cards! You should be doing that! Have you ever thought of writing greeting cards? I hear Blue Mountain is always looking for a few poets to write for them. (In fact, this site has a link to them, so maybe check with Poetheart). Will you think about it? Don't you think I am right about this? F.C.

Richard: F.C., If you knew how many times I tried to get a job with Hallmark or American Greeting Cards, you wouldn't believe it. I have NO idea how to go about it properly, nor do I have any friends who work there. On a whim, I have submitted a few to Blue Mountain and guess what? Nothing.(Sort of a don't call us, we'll call you). Oh well. But I do thank you for your suggestion. (Been there, done that). I am glad you like my poems.........richard

(02/22/00 Tonisha Gladden, Newark, NJ)
As someone who writes poems myself, I really appreciate the opportunity to ask you a question (one poet to another). I like your poem "Summer's Death". I have read all your poems but think this one is the best one. I love the imagery in it like "thinning trees", "Thanksgiving a kitchen scent away", "pile summers ashes into a multicolored pile called fall". Excellent images. How did you ever learn to create word images? I am only 18 and have taken several creative writing classes but never learned anything like that. Can you recommend how I might learn to create better images in my poems? Thank you. Tonisha Gladden

Richard: Tonisha, you're the first person to mention that poem. I just reread it to better answer your thoughts. I've never taken a creative writing class. How does one teach creativity? I have no idea. That one was a mental snapshot. Having spent 51 years in NY (minus 3 in the army ), the seasonal changes are an annual occurrence. You live in Newark. A stone's throw away. In Jersey, as here, we get the full brunt of Mother Nature. Look around you, Tonisha....the four seasons.......take a walk in the park one crisp November afternoon, when Fall's grip is tight - the stark, barren prelude is but a glance away. Open your eyes Tonisha - it's all there. Let the words come out.....richard

(02/25/00 Steve Hodgin, Rogers, AZ)
Dear Richard, After reading your poetry, the interview, and set of questions and answers, I would like to compliment you on your honest and creative contributions to each. I enjoyed your poetry at different levels, with my favorite being "Summer's Death" for its use of creative metaphor. "Soliloquy for the Solitude of Solo Strollers" is another which I enjoyed, since I felt as if you were allowing the reader to see through you as the scenes unfolded. You have stated yourself to be a "romantic". Much of your poetry reflects this side of you. Even your observations of Nature reveal romantic inspiration. How do you balance these feelings with the realities of everyday life? In other words, how do you balance being a left brained thinker in a right brained society, and how does this affect other aspects of your life, such as finances, politics, civic responsibilities, etc? Steve

Richard: Thank you for your kind words, Steve. (I look forward to YOUR interview, this way I can torture you as well. LOL ). I don't know much about this left/right brain thing but I'll take your word for it. (Makes me sound like a bit of an oddball but that's NOT necessarily a bad thing!). The one adjective people who know me the best most apply to me is "unique". Honest. So I guess you saw something as well. Romance does not fit into the general aspects of my life, per se. I'm a die-hard conservative Republican. How does that connect with poetry? It doesn't. Same for all other facets of my life. The romantic side of me takes hold only when I'm sitting at the keyboard. I'm hardly the "poetic" type. I go out of my way to keep it a secret. It's just something I do as a means of expression. I'm not very good at it so there is no reason to publicize it. One thing you said interests me - "reading it at different levels". I like that!. What I write is based on what I see, perceive, absorb, reflect on and observe all around me. I separate it from all else. I get lost in it. If I ever write a "political" poem, it will be a pure comedic parody. Thank you for your question.....richard

(02/27/00 Janice B., Philadelphia, PA)
Richard, Do you ever enter poetry contests? I think you would have a good chance in one. Can you tell me where you find the contests you enter? I have written a few poems and would like to see what I can do to enter them in a good poetry contest. Also, do you know of any plans this site has to sponsor a poetry contest? I would think it would have a monthly contest or something. Thanks. Janice

Richard: Janice, I have entered a few contests and true to form, never won a thing. You might want to try www.poetry.com. They always run contests. There is a link through poetheart.com that will connect you to blue mountain arts. They have a contest as well. All I can say Janice, is submit them and hope for the best. As far as poetheart.com conducting any contests, I know of none that are planned. What Jay DOES have is a "featured poet of month" - wherein a poet and his/her work are featured. If you submit material that is of sufficient quality, who knows? Good luck Janice and thanks for your question.....richard

02/28/00 "Ginnie", Springfield, MA)
Richard, I have read your poems and like them. I thought the interview went real well and enjoyed your honest replies and your frankness. But I didn't like how you did with the questions because I think you get a little wordy at times. I have questions but would not like long winded answers or lectures. Do you anticipate putting together a book of your poetry in the near future? What exactly have you done toward becoming a published poet? (From what I have read of you, that seems to be what you want). Do you consider this (being on this site) a step in the right direction? Thanks. Ginnie

Richard: Ginnie, I don't have enough material for a book. But I'm working on it. I have no idea how to go about getting published per se. A few of my poems are in published anthologies but that won't amount to very much. And yes, being exposed on poetheart.com is not a bad way for people to get to know my work. Sorry for the lectures, I thought I was only answering the questions in the best way I knew how. Thank you for your questions.....richard

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