[Interview] Richard Wink

Richard Wink's poetry has been published in magazines that include Ditch, Underground Voices and Aesthetica Magazine.

He has also published a number of chapbooks, among them, The Magnificent Guffaw (Erbacce Press); Apple Road (Trainwreck Press); All Along the Wensum (Kendra Steiner Editions); Delirium is a Disease of the Night (Shadow Archer Press) and Devils and Daylight (New Polish Beat).

Dead End Road (Bewrite Books, 2009) is his first full length poetry collection.

In this interview Richard Wink talks about his writing:

When did you start writing?

I started writing poetry after finding out that I had been gifted the happy knack of putting together some snappy metaphors alongside sparse, blunt prose.

Overtime I graduated from bedroom notepad scribbles to actually getting my work published in various magazines and periodicals. This took a great deal of perseverance and patience, as paper cuts bled into rejection letters and grovelling around on my hands and knees led to grazes and bruises that blunted the ego.

I guess I never set out to get published; it took a great deal of courage to actually put my neck on the chopping block and send my words out into the open. But once you get that first acceptance and you see your poem in print – it becomes a drug, you soon get addicted and eventually you end up with all kinds of hopes, dreams and delusions.

Such flighty ideas led me to put together my debut full length collection, Dead End Road. Getting the book published was merely a case of chancing my arm, getting some interest from a publisher and then working with a fine editor who cut away the fat and produced a lean, succulent composition.

Having said that I have grafted, working my way up the small press grapevine, putting out chapbooks through indie presses and publishers, honing my craft over time. Getting Dead End Road published didn’t just happen, I had to put the hard yards in.

How would you describe your writing?

My poems are a mixture of what I see and what I imagine, a crude oily blur of fact and fiction, an exaggeration of reality.

I’m attempting to mould together many different influences - blend kitchen sink drama with surrealism, and then add two teaspoons of existentialism.

Who is your target audience?

Anyone can read my words; I’m not aiming for an intellectual minority. I endeavour to make my writing as accessible as I can.

Surely it is common sense for a writer to want as many people to read his words as possible?

Which writers influenced you most?

Carol Ann Duffy ignited the passion, Charles Bukowski made me realize anyone can do this and Allen Ginsberg explicitly taught me how to sprinkle the sugar.

Do your personal experiences influence your writing in any way?

Most certainly, as I mentioned before I write about the everyday, I believe there is a lot of mileage in the mundane. Any writer would be foolish to ignore what they directly experience.

In my working life, I’ve encountered the good, the bad and the ugly in an assortment of weird and wonderful jobs, I aim to capture the unique characters like butterflies, and pin them down on paper.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

I think every writer faces self doubt. That little voice in the back of your head that politely asks what the hell you are doing?

I find it best to flip that little voice off, and plough on into the light. So basically what I’m saying is that I am fearful of the legitimacy of my words, yet fearless when it comes to getting them out there into the open.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

The challenge is to get people to read Dead End Road.

I mean there is are a lot of obstacles to overcome, both from the bloated corpses of the past, the dead poets, and those poets who are currently hot stuff - alive and kicking with the backing of the bigger publishing houses.

I’m dealing as best as I can, but I’ll be honest and say that I find the promotional work hard going. Let’s face it; I would make a terrible car salesman.

Do you write everyday?

I’m working (real work, not writing!) long hours at the moment so time is very much at a premium.

Honestly, I write when I can, forcing the muse through the fatigue and mental tiredness.

Each session starts with a cup of tea, I scribble in the notepad, and ideas form from the ether. Then I make the first draft, the second ties it all together and the third normally is finely polished.

Right now I’m working on a novel, so the process is a lot stricter and tightly regimented; sessions need to yield a minimum of 1,000 words.

How many books have you written so far?

A number of chapbooks and one full length collection of poetry, all released between 2005 and now.

It started when after getting in a few magazines and anthologies I approached a small press in the States that put together a chapbook called The Beehives, then I approached another that helped me with Stress, both are pretty shocking in terms of quality and thankfully no longer in print. However the experience got me thinking more about assembling a body of work rather than an odd gaggle of poems.

Then I went on a glory run and released The Magnificent Guffaw through Erbacce Press, Apple Road via Trainwreck Press, All Along the Wensum through Kendra Steiner Editions and Delirium is a Disease of the Night with Shadow Archer Press. Apart from a little chapbook I released with A J Kaufmann’s imprint New Polish Beat titled Devils and Daylight all of the other chapbooks have led up to my debut full length collection Dead End Road; the training miles before my marathon, if you will.

How would you describe Dead End Road?

I’ve described it as Revolutionary Road meets Desperate Housewives; a series of snapshot poems that look at different characters and personalities along a fictional road.

It took me a couple of months to write, because I really got into a good groove, the words were flowing effortlessly.

The book is published by BeWrite Books. I picked BeWrite because they have a roster of talented writers that I respect, and also because I wanted to work with a publisher that is forward thinking, and ambitious.

What advantages and/or disadvantages your association with BeWrite Books presented?

Speaking open and honestly I found that the editing process was superb. I worked closely with Sam Smith, an experienced writer who helped shape the collection into something substantial and coherent.

I was certainly impressed with the quality of the paperback version of the book, it looks superb.

The disadvantages have mostly been promo related, when you work with independent publishing houses it is up to you the writer to seek out reviews, this can be tricky with every Tom, Dick and Harriet also attempting to plug their books. You really do have to knock on the door of every reviewer and hope they will give your book a read, and hope you get a favourable review.

What will your next book deal with?

The novel, tentatively titled Tears and Spittle will be about a man who loses his identity and embarks on a Candide-esque misadventure across the dirty South (of England).

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Writing Dead End Road which I believe would be a wonderful stocking filler gift. What with Christmas around the corner. It makes sense for you to pick up a copy!

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