In this second part of the Weirding Word (SM) on Writers interview with Kim Roberts, the editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly talks about how writing impacts her life and upcoming projects.
WW: How did writing and becoming published transform your life?
KR: I really think publishing is important. Of course, there are things that we want just for ourselves, but we’re always writing or painting or dancing or whatever we do for communication. It’s important to complete that loop of communication. For me it’s always been that process of trying to publish what I write.
KR: I think the more we write, the more we reveal to ourselves what our issues and obsessions are. That comes over time and as we continue to do it. As we mature as writers, we develop a voice that’s more distinctly ours.
WW: Because we understand ourselves better?
KR: Hopefully. Or just out of the repetition of continuing to do this. I think there are some forms of expression where youth really helps. Like dance for example. And, I think I’m really lucky because, for most poets, you keep getting better.
WW: You write a lot of different things. Tell me more about your writing.
KR: I do a fair amount of nonfiction—articles, essays. I’ve written a few tour brochures. So, I really like doing that kind of writing as well. I have a few plays that I’ve produced and I also enjoy writing fiction. My first love is poetry, but I’m interestered in all types of writing.
WW: That reminds me of Ray Bradbury. He wrote a lot of different things as well. He's sort of a renaissance writer.
KR: No, there are some things I don’t do well. And I can’t write poetry all the time, so I really enjoy writing other pieces. But, it all leads back to poetry. I also really have an interest in DC so a lot of my writing is about other writers who came before us.
WW: At Weirding Word (SM), we believe that “language creates reality.” How does language create reality in your life? In your writing?
KR: Well, often times I don’t know how I feel about things, or how deeply I feel about things, until I start to write about them. Writing is the major way that I make meaning out of my life. So, writing it down is how I figure out what my reality is. So much of our lives just rushes by without anyone deeply analyzing what it really is. Poetry is a way of slowing it down.
WW: What’s next for you?
KR: I am working on a manuscript that I hope will eventually be a third book of poems. This is largely based in my experience with health and medicine. I was a caretaker for a friend who died of cancer a few years ago. When she was in the final stages of life, I was diagnosed with cancer. So, I have this view on the body and how we feel about the body. And, I think we have a view on how our bodies operate. There’s a happy ending to the story in that I’ve been cancer free for 3 years. But, I’m still processing Martha’s death. So that is my next step—wrestling this manuscript into a form that I like.
They’re rough poems for the reader and so I need to find a way to make these poems not too dark.
KR: Because, I guess, that my experience was not wholly dark. I guess I want this to also capture a sense of awe, a sense of wonder and how our bodies work and don’t work. Because I’d like to transform a difficult time in my life into something that goes beyond that.
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