Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Robin McNamara

under robin mcnamara

-Robin McNamara

is an Irish poet. Under a Mind’s Staircase his debut chapbook was published in 2021 with Hedgehog Poetry Press. 

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

Originally I started writing poetry in my 20s around 1995, at a time I was exploring my creative side whilst living in Dublin with my Journalism, Graphic Design/Advertising, Law & But Studies journeys. I stopped completely in 1999, started again around 2015. The first phase of writing was as I mentioned was part of my creative self discovery & reaching out for whether creative path I was supposed to be on. Phase two re-emerged in ‘15 and led to the decision to commit fully to poetry in 2020, because it had become a therapeutic thing and a reawakening of what I was supposed to have been doing for years. 

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My mind.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

As a working class poet I rise at 6:20am and I’m home around 5pm Monday to Friday. This leaves a very small window for poetry writing. I write during the weekend and re-edit or proof poems during the week after work. Saturdays are usually spent trying to read other poets books but I have great difficulty in concentrating because I then become inspired to write something after reading a poem or two from the books I’m reading. Midnight onwards usually up till 3am are fruitful hours for writing numerous poems in draft & finished form, whilst listening to music on iTunes. This pattern I created during lockdown. Every night midnight onwards with my recently reawakening of my love for music I write. This is how my first book was born. 

5. What subjects motivate you to write?

Everyone and everything.  

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today?

 I didn’t read any poets works when younger but I read Stephen King, James Herbert and Sven Hassel. All whom created my imagination and awareness of the power of the written word. 

8. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Anne Casey. Persistent with her talent and consistent with her work and she’s the most talented Irish poet I know living abroad.

I also admire the numerous lesser known but just as important poets out there who are pub by indie publishers. David L O’Nan is a f****ing phenomenal poet. One of the best of his generation, who reminds me of Charles Bukowski.

 Elizabeth Castillo, a Brit-Mauritian poet is another  hugely talented poet who excites me with her work.   

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I do do other things, I’m just better at this than other things. I do this because I don’t give a f**k about anything else. I admire people who are multitalented and can create both music and poetry etc 

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I would say back to them “how long before your eyes glaze over” if they’re that interested they wouldn’t be asking the question. It’s a calling, it’s not something that you pick up from a “How to Write Poetry” book.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

 Following up on my debut pamphlet Under a Mind’s Staircase published with Hedgehog Poetry Press, Monochrome Heart is my debut full collection coming soon. I’m working on how many poems to put into the book. Then I’ve got to send the manuscript to my proofreader in America and I’ve already picked out the cover artwork, with permission from Kate Ives a British sculptor, I’m using one of her pieces on the front cover.  

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