I’m thrilled to be interviewing poet Robert Zimmerman. His powerful debut collection of poems, From Where I Stand, is available now.
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing (serious writing) in the eleventh grade. I got more and more into it as time moved along. Though, it wasn’t until I was almost done with my creative writing degree, that I admitted that I was a writer. Before that I was just a person who wrote.
2. Why do you write poetry?
I write poetry because that’s the discipline that comes most naturally to me. Especially when I started out, I was just putting my pencil to paper and letting whatever words out that wanted to come out. I didn’t really have to think about it.
Whenever I try to write anything like a short story or other prose, it takes a bit more thought and concentration than I have. I admire writers who can write a story, especially if it’s an entire novel. I don’t have the attention span to create something like that. It’s just not the way my mind seems to work, though I’m open to trying it if an idea ever comes.
I have toyed with the idea of writing story as a poem. My efforts for a project like that haven’t panned out well, so far.
3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
I used to be able sit down and words would flow out. In recent years though, this hasn’t been the most productive method to writing.
I tend to come across poems a lot less often now. I think it’s because I (over)think more about what I want to write. At first I thought I was just going through a dry spell, but in reality I think not having as much material just pop out has made the poems that I do write, better and I appreciate them more.
Then after it’s written, I go through the obvious edits/rewrites that every author/poet goes through. It’s really only an issue of getting the words out in the first place. That’s the only process I really seem to have, and still wrestle with.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?
There’s really one author who I can honestly say has influenced my writing. He’s the poet, James Allen Hall. He was also my poetry, fiction, and senior seminar professor in college. He really got me out of my shell and helped me find my strengths and to point out my weaknesses.
It’s not only his help as a professor that’s become my influence. His poetry seems to be with me every time I write, as well. The way he recites his poems, the way he puts his heart into each line. That’s how I write my work. I don’t think I’d have as profound a response from my readers if it wasn’t for a little piece of my professors teaching and writing influencing my work.
5. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
Right now, I’m working in a few poems for a project I’m doing with a few other poets. Amber Jerome~Norrgard, Ben Ditmars, Scott Morgan (who is also a skill editor), and I will be putting our work together in an anthology for release later in December.
It started out as a random idea that I had, just for fun and to get a sampling of our work out there. I suggested we give it away for free, because everyone loves free. But then the idea of putting a price on it and donating the proceeds to a charity came up. We couldn’t say no to this idea.
We’re hoping to donate 100% of the proceeds to Operation Kindness. It is the oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas. A place like this I always in need of help, and as an animal lover when this organization came up, I had to approve. We’re still working out the details on the donation.
6. Any tips for new writers?
I’m a new writer as well, at least the realm of publishing and being serious about my work. So my advice is to keep writing, keep perfecting your craft. I work best without deadlines, so that might help, as well. My goal was to get my collection done and perfected. My goal was NOT to get it published (whether traditionally or self-published). I was writing for my own enjoyment and to be proud of myself.
Once you’re ready to go to the next step of publishing, that’s when to focus on it. I’m not saying don’t research everything while you’re writing, but it’s not use having the extra stress of deadlines and fans leaning over your shoulder 24/7 while you write.
And always….HAVE FUN!!!! Once the fun’s gone, things change and it becomes a job. That’s not something I would enjoy.
7. Any tips for old writers?
You’re old…but don’t feel ashamed to look for help with your writing or anything else. And if you think you know everything, you don’t. Every writer needs to keep learning and keep working on their craft. Keep the attitude that you can always do better and grow as a writer.
Also, like I would say to younger writers, if you are still writing and haven’t gotten a book out there…don’t worry. Keep writing. Keep striving toward your goals.
Oh, and HAVE FUN!!!!
Robert has been writing poetry since the eleventh grade. His writing started as impulsive rambling, but soon became a passion. A few years later he attended SUNY Potsdam where he received a B.A. in Creative Writing.
His main focus is poetry, but at times you can find him dabbling in short fiction. Robert has also created the blog A Life Among The Pages, where he posts his writing as well as book reviews.
When he’s not reading or writing, Robert enjoys spending time with his dog, Deuc. Deuc ran out of the woods in August 2011 and they have been inseparable ever since.
From Robert Zimmermann comes From Where I Stand, an emotional debut poetry collection. Zimmermann explores strained parental relationships, loss of life, and the despair associated with grief. Alongside these darker themes, he delves into the small areas of life that often go unnoticed but become the hope we are searching for.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/miztrebor
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/253778
I’m going to give away 5 ebook copies of the book. What I’ll ask of all of you is to put something like this at the bottom of the post. (I’d do a rafflecopter but I don’t want to have to deal with people (like myself) who use WordPress and can’t get RC on their blog.)
“Robert will be giving away 5 ebook copies (.mobi, .epub, or PDF) of From Where I Stand at the end of the tour. To enter, please leave a thoughtful comment on this post and be sure to leave an email to be contacted with if you’re a winner.
One comment per person per post, feel free to comment on multiple posts for an extra entry for each. Winners will be gathered together from all the blog tour stops and then chosen randomly.
Giveaway ends December 9th at 12:01AM. Winners to be announced soon after they are selected.