Riding my conservative work ethic
And liberal awareness
Empathy is my logic
Calm is my cognitive bias
Dark chocolate at hand
Red wine breathing
Craft beer in a can
Looking forward to vacation
Critically viewing this world
Searching for new connectivity
Avoiding the turmoil
Bio: John Jones Jr. enjoys writing, listening to music, arts, nature and exercise. He lives in Southern Indiana and enjoys writing poetry from time to time and going on trips when he can.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Robin: I started writing in high school: thoughts in a journal, poems, short stories, even song lyrics. One of the most influential writers for me at that time was S.E. Hinton. She had written a couple of novels, “The Outsiders,” and “That Was Then This is Now.” The characters were so richly evolved and the story lines so captivating.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Robin: I can’t choose just one influence! I think I’m influenced by many contemporary poets: Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Jim McGarrah, and all of the poets in the RAR online critique group.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Robin: I grew up in Southern Indiana in the U.S. in a city on the river. I think the climate, the influence of the water, and the people I’ve encountered have all had their influence on my writing. I have not travelled extensively, so travelling is only a minor influence on my work.
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?
Robin: Some of the most meaningful work that I’ve done so far includes the poems I’ve written about family members and friends who have passed away and also an essay about some middle school students who could teach all of us about how to behave as humane and respectful human beings.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Robin: I believe I had the urge to write starting with the writing I did in high school, but other life events happened, and so, I didn’t get back to it until later in life when I went back to college. I took a creative writing class on a whim and knew that I wanted to keep writing.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Robin: Some of my favorite activities when not writing are spending time with my grandchildren, listening to my husband’s band(s) play, reading, walking, visiting a little town not far from where I live, New Harmony, IN.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Robin: One of my favorite lines from one of my poems, “Services at a Later Date,” is “. . .I claw/ the soil, bury what’s left/ of the flowers, push/ my palms together, pretend/ I know how to pray.”
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Robin: I’ve had so much help and support over the years. Patty Aakhus encouraged me to take a poetry class, Jim McGarrah was my instructor in a poetry class in college, the members of the Student Writers Union in college, the ladies in my poetry circle, the members of the RAR online critique group, and my granddaughter who is a teenager but a published poet as well. I’m also learning from being a part of the TopTweetTuesday group of poets.