Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bill Roberts


She was such a base person,
pure sodium hydroxide.

He more like venomous acid --
undiluted hydrogen chloride.

They met with a thunderous bang:
highly explosive --

afterward, neutral as water,
dihydrogen oxide,

dissolved sodium chloride,
the salt of the earth.


TSTmpj:  Did you study chemistry in your latter years at school?  Did a childhood sweetheart -- or an adulthood sweetheart for that matter -- have a chemistry association for you, or, alternatively, is the poem purely based in the poetic, mysterious magic of personal chemistry?

Bill Roberts:  I fell in love with chemistry in high school, prompted by several of the fair maidens I pursued, but that's another story.  Went to The American University in Washington, D.C., received my B.S. in chemistry, began my pursuit of a career as a chemist.  Went on to be a nuclear weapons consultant -- my current dream:  to amass and destroy all weapons of mass destruction through negotiations (yes, a pipe dream, I'm afraid).  I've had many magical chemical explosions with Irene, my wife for the past 54 years.


TSTmpj:  Is your experience in relationships that opposites attract, even if there can be fireworks?

Bill Roberts:  Yes, I think that opposites are best suited for one another, as in the case of my wife and me.  Over the years, as an amateur matchmaker, I've tried to get, for instance, a mathematician interested in a physicist for romantic purposes.  Result:  absolutely nothing -- they couldn't have been less interested in creating sparks, nothing even close to fireworks.


TSTmpj:  You say that "As a poet and human being I'm getting better as I'm getting older."  Goethe, Thomas Hardy, many others, great achievers in their latter years.  Would you agree with the statement "my next poem will be my best one yet," and if so, how do you ensure that that happens?

Bill Roberts:  I started writing semi-seriously as I was about to semi-retire at age 59, an attempt to keep the brain alive and fertile.  That was 17 years and eleven thousand poems ago, over a thousand of the poems published in small-press magazines.  I offer a free seminar on how to write a poem in 15 minutes, then prep it for publication, the latter the hard part.  I use prompts for the several writing groups I sponsor weekly, have something in mind as I sit at the computer, and miraculously a poem arrives within minutes, ninety-nine percent finished.  Not all good, of course, but the meat of something for later refinement.  So, yes, the next poem will always be my very best....and why not?  By the way, Thomas Hardy is still one of my great heroes:  I invested my interest in literature upon his works, as well as a few other wonderful authors.  I've returned to Poe lately, still regard him as my favourite poet.  Question:  Would Poe be published today?  I wonder...

Bio Note

Bill Roberts annually sponsors readings honouring female poets, "Strong Voices, Strong Women," also to benefit battered women.  There's Poe in poetry.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog. I'm on a bit of a mission to get my favorite classic poem up in to my top ten posts so it shows on the sidebar. So it would be great if you would have a look. Ozymandias