Interview with Robin Richardson
Author of Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis
Interview by Sebastian H. Paramo


What is your writing process like? In your notes section you mention that some poems reference films, Hamlet, and overheard conversations. Is this always a part of your process?

My process consists of one part scavengery, as described above, and one part hours hunched over my computer, turning what I've scavenged into something tangible.A lot of the poems in the collection started off as lines jotted down in diners or while watching movies, surfing the internet, etc. I feel like there's so much going on everyday it's impossible not to want to record it, and often after I've recorded it, bits and pieces begin to resonate with me, touching on some overarching narrative or theme in my own subconscious. Those lines tend to get written again and again on various pages of my Moleskine until they reveal their importance, then I work them into a poem, or work a poem from them. It's amazing how clearly such detritus crystallizes into something tangible and meaningful, the way a cloud takes on the form you imagine it to to such an extend that it seems perfectly sculpted to fit your fantasy.

In some ways, I saw your poem "Portrait in Translucent Ink" as an ars poetica, especially with the line "It sucks so much to know about craft." Would you agree?

That's an interesting take, and probably more accurate than I realized while writing it. It's not just about the act of writing; it's about any art, about witnessing any beautiful production and having an acute, whether accurate or not, understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. Like the bloody toes of a ballerina, cramped hands of the pianist, or neurotic self-doubt of the poet. It sucks, sure, but it adds something too. The more I know about what makes things tick the more I'm impressed by the result, and oddly enough, the more mystery.

One of my favorites in this collection is "I Dig My Rockbottomness: A Holiday Poem," it feels slightly off-the-beaten-path from the others. What's your favorite poem in this collection?

I really can't say I have one. All of these poems mean so much to me, though I do find I have a handful I prefer to read when I do events. They are: How Gods go on the Road, Thora at Thirteen, Little Robin Explains Growing Up, Luck Numbers, and My Voice in My Mouth, which as the final poem in the collection, hints the most at the work that's to come in the third book.

Could you name five of your favorite contemporary poets?

Frederick Seidel
Galway Kinnell
Louise Glück
Jim Harrison
Jack Gilbert (RIP)

What is a day-in-the-life like for you on a working day? How do you relax?

I generally start writing first thing in the morning. I'll sit down with a heaping cup of black coffee, a few of my favorite books of poetry, my notebook, and my laptop open with two files side-by-side: my manuscript, and about a dozen pages of scraps, abandoned poems-in=progress, quotes, lines I haven't yet found poems for. Depending on my level of effectiveness and inspirations I'll either try to work at a new poem, or tweak the ones I have in progress. Not a day goes by that I don't look over everything I have on the go, which right now is about thirty poems. Whether I'm productive or not I spend at least three hours at this every morning. I find when I have a set schedule like this, my brain becomes trained to operate optimally at the allotted time.

Relaxing for me involves a lot of reading, movie watching, walking, and good whiskey with great company.

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm currently working on my third collection of poems, tentatively titled "Sit How You Want". It's a bit more cohesive in theme and content than my previous collections, and draws significantly more from real life. Preview poems from it here: [1] [2] [3

Finally, If you had a number one rule for a guidebook on writing, what would your rule be?

Be relentless.