A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Robert Allen

Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most?

Robert: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. When I read Sylvia Plath and Theodore Roethke in high school and knew then that I wanted to specifically be a poet. The work of Roethke and Plath seems to always be in my head; they were “my first poets”, so they are dug in deep. Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot came later. Currently Anne Carson makes me want to be a better poet. She’s inspiring. Rita Dove is amazing. Sharon Olds. Joelle Taylor. Just some current poets I appreciate.

Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Robert: Times spent in 9th grade in the public library in the poetry section.

Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Robert: my awesome wife

Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Robert: I grew up in Seattle but moved to Northern California later in life. I’m influenced a lot by California, it’s weather systems, it’s beauties.

I studied abroad at age 21, and that time was highly influential to my way of viewing the world and how I express it in poetry.

What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Robert: I wrote a piece called The Fire Trilogy, which was published by Roi Faineant Press. It’s about climate change, and I just like the way it turned out musically with a theme extremely important to me. I also made a shared chapbook (with two other poets), “Disjointed”, that I am very proud of.

Favorite activities to relax?

Robert: reading poetry, writing poetry, walking

What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always comes back to you as an inspiration?

Robert: I listen to Vedic chants or old western music like Perotin, Hildegard, stuff like that when I write. I like it in the background while doing a poem. Mostly I listen to hip hop, which has its own musicality in terms of sound and sense. It makes its way into my poems no doubt.

Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, projects that you would like to promote?

Robert: Books, poetry coaching information, and workshop schedules are all available at www.robertallenpoet.com I just completed my first full length manuscript and I’m currently seeking a publisher.

Any funny memories or strange occurrences you’d like to share during your creative journey?

Robert: My strange occurrence was bipolar disorder. Crossing over to a bipolar life in my 20s is reflected a lot in my writing, especially the worldviews where anxiety can meet healing–or it doesn’t meet at all. Also, a certain kind of darkness, with the possibility of climbing to the light, making a heaven of hell.

BIO: “Robert Allen lives in Oakland, CA with his family, where he writes poetry, takes long walks, and seeks beauty everywhere. 2021 nomination for Best of the Net.”


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Kellie Scott-Reed

Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?

Kellie: I started writing on an old typewriter someone was throwing out at the curb when I was 9 years old.  The poem was called “The Lily Pond”. Riddled with mistakes, as I had no corrective ribbon, it still garnished oohs and ahs from my parents, so I kept going. Diaries, short stories, roasts, poetry, and songwriting are all a part of the repertoire now.  While my parents are still my best audience, I just love the act of creating something someone, somewhere may connect with.  My biggest influences back then, was my father, who is a really wonderful poet, and of course, Stephen King. He was the first ‘adult’ author I read, far too young! But he lit my brain on fire. I owe him big. Current day I am  influenced by Nick Tosches, David Sedaris and Katherine Dunn. As for poets, Jericho Brown. Just incredible work! And most recently Claudia Rankine. 

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Kellie: I never actually wanted to be a writer. It seemed inevitable. Like “this is what I do”. I remember writing notebooks full of stories and observations during math class. I failed math, of course.  I constantly struggled with focusing on anything, so to have something that held my attention with little effort felt like flying to me. I also never wanted it to be my job. I was under the false impression that work had to be drudgery and that writing was my escape from that drudgery. 

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Kellie: This is a tough one. I have had so much support throughout the years. Of course I was encouraged by my parents. They constantly told me to focus on writing and creating. They were the foundation. My songwriting partner is my husband, Rob Reed. We wrote our first song together on our third date. He found my words inspiring and would break out the guitar while I was cooking, and we’d just crank out songs. He also constantly tells me to write. When I’m unsure, when I’m not feeling confident, he is the wind in my writing lungs. Also my EIC and co-editor at the Roi Faineant Press, Tiffany Storrs and Marianne Peterson. They got me going again after a long dry spell! They constantly inspire me to do more, to be more myself, and to keep my chin up during those times when life blocks the doors of your mind. 

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Kellie: I grew up in the city of Rochester, NY. It is a cloudy and wintery place. So there is usually a darkness to my writing. I love to explore the dark side of humanity and the grit that collects between the floorboards of a home that has seen a hard winter. It’s cold here. It’s also beautiful.  Rochester is a town that has scars. So I like to look at them. 

As far as my travels, Ireland, where my family is from, has influenced me a great deal. It has opened up my mind to exploring family history with the folks still over there, so I will be doing a little family lore story in the near future. 

Q5: What do you consider you most meaningful work creatively?

Kellie: I love the songs I have written. Music is my first love. It is not only the written word, but it is melody and groove and feeling all together. It is the total sensory package of creativity when you consider album cover art!  I always wanted to be in a band. I wanted to be Tina Turner. No joke. However, I lack a voice and any ability to focus on learning an instrument.  It is also collaborative. I love the vibe of musicians, and how they are putting the pieces together of a puzzle that no one knows what the end result will look like. That feeling when a song you wrote comes up randomly on a playlist and you stop, and think “Oh my god, I wrote that about so-and so, and that time we went shopping for honey and it was so expensive.” That randomness of thought and meaning and time, solidified in wax..or in this my case digital files, is fairly magical to me. I can’t imagine anything more thrilling creatively.

Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?

Kellie: Ha! Relax. I actually have difficulty relaxing. I am action oriented! So to ‘relax’ I take my pup for at least a 4 mile hike per day without fail. I love our time together. She is a Siberian Husky and is virtually silent accept for the occasional howl. So we walk in the woods and we sniff the air. It is what keeps the winter from closing in on me. Also, I am a yoga instructor/fitness trainer for one of my day jobs, so I do yoga every day a few times a day. That keeps the anxiety at bay. 

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writings?

Kellie: Yikes! This is hard. I am self critical so they all need improvement! But I get crushes on my most recent work, from my poem “Cherry Season” 

“We all move on 
From the things that get in the way 
Of sweetness.
And it all comes too quickly,
The end of it all”

And from the song “Raw Honey”
“You, not like the rest, far too expensive
For a man in my condition.
I’m told you’re the best, the list is extensive
Oh, but baby, I’m a mess.”

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always comes back to you as an inspiration?

Kellie: I love ALL music. I can say this with absolute certainty. Each genre inspires me in a different way. Singer songwriter makes me write poetry. The Smiths/Cure 80’s era music makes me want to tell dark tales. Rap makes me want to comment on the times, maybe some non fiction.  Alt-country makes me nostalgic, so I want to tell a tale about my family. It all depends on what’s playing and the groove it makes in my brain. 

Impossible Germany by Wilco is the song I want playing as I die. If one can choose such a thing. So I’d say that song inspires me the most. It’s lovely, and quiet and it feels like the universe all in one place.

Q9: Do you have any upcoming or recent projects that you’d like to promote?

Kellie: I am currently the AEIC of the Roi Faineant Press so we are embarking on our second year as a press. We have had remarkable success so far and have expanded our team! I have a Short Fiction piece in the Outcast Press/Slices of Anxiety Press venture  “The Place Where Everyone’s Name is Fear”.  A 400 page anthology, the proceeds will go to support women’s reproductive rights. I also recently had a music review in Punk Noir Magazine for the album “Mordechai” by Khraungbin. Hopefully I will be doing more in the near future.

Bonus Question: Are there any funny or strange stories from your creative journey?

Kellie: I wrote a letter to Oprah once. She took me to Australia. I figure that was the one piece of writing I was paid for. 

Bio: Kellie Scott-Reed -AEIC and host of “A Word?” With Kellie Scott-Reed. B.S. in English-Creative Writing. Songwriter, Poet, yoga instructor. The tail of many comets, starfish savior, the harbinger of partially good news. Brushes with fame, never famous.  Find her work in Punk Noir Magazine, Identity Theory Magazine, Roi Faineant Press and on Spotify and Apple Music under the band name Fivehead.