I haven’t met Arthur Rosch. He is from California and me, from a tiny corner of the UK. Never mind about that – just look at the image above! Wow! If that doesn’t get you reading what will? It certainly did me and when I remember the fun I had hosting guests on my site – although they were all authors – I thought it was time I undertook a new journey and one likely to prove equally an inspiration.
A journey with poetry.
Philistine is the word I would use to describe my knowledge of poetry but other words come to mind too – total envy plus a heartfelt wish that I could manipulate words in such a way that a line of maybe five words has the same relevance as an entire page in a book.
And so my own journey begins with … an outpouring of questions as to what drew Arthur Rosch to writing poetry. And his response! Read on and discover as I have done how poetry came to the rescue of someone living at the extreme edges of life..
Loving Art: A Response to Questions from Barbara Spencer
by Arthur Rosch 2021
Why did I begin writing poetry?
It was love, pure and simple. I was madly, obsessively in love with a girl. I was fifteen and I chased her across the country as she went to bible camp, music camp, all kinds of camps. That summer was pure madness. I was so in love that I began to write poetry. She loved poetry and I was ready with the goods. I wish I still had those notebooks. Well…maybe I don’t. The important thing was that we high school students were creating a culture that valued the Arts. Being a poet conferred status. It was encouraged. I wasn’t exactly one of the elite kids at school but I had a cauldron of creativity locked within myself. I had been playing music since I was seven. Writing, of any kind, came easily to me.
The girl is long gone but the poetry stayed behind to make me warm at night. I write books, I’m a novelist, science fiction-fantasy writer and memoirist. Four of my books are published via Amazon, Smashwords, draft2digital and other platforms.
Usually as we grow up, our lives are filled with the mundane needs of earning a living. Was it a conscious decision on your part, to cling on to the creative instinct in you?
That’s a strange question, though provocative.
It wasn’t UNconscious, to be sure.
And it was my creative soul that literally saved my life when I was in deadly peril.
I got lost in my thirties and stayed lost for decades. I lived among the addicts and the homeless; I was one of the people who barely exist on the fringes of society. Had I not sensed that I was, somehow, gifted, I would most likely have died in a dumpster.
Come, Tears – Feb 3, 20-21`
Come tears, come.
I’ve been waiting for you.
I haven’t felt anything
for a long time.
Where did my feelings go?
Beaten out of me, perhaps.
Too dangerous to feel
Come tears, I need you.
I want my emotion
back, I want
that which I can’t do
without my soul, my feelings.
I welcome you, tears,
welcome sorrow, welcome
joy, welcome passion. Welcome.
Come, tears. Do your work of excavation.
Be the small river that carves
a great canyon.
How do you link photography and poetry?
I’m a multimedia person, I love photography, music and dance. I produce material in many media. The link between photography and poetry is that both are visual media. I know that sounds strange. I consider poetry to be using words to create visual images that elicit emotional responses. Photo images are so immediate and visceral that it’s difficult for poetry to compete with video. Combining the two, as in the book “Feral Tenderness”, satisfies my urge to do both: write and illustrate. We live in an era where film and video dominate the landscape of the arts. I’ve just begun to make video, and it sits on the horizon like a monster waiting to pounce. I find inspiration mostly by devouring the works of artists that I admire. My list of musicians goes back to my teen days when I was learning to play jazz. John Coltrane sits atop my personal hierarchy. I love Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan: singer/songwriters who draw insight from their experiences.
Do you also read?
I’ve been reading voraciously since I was six years old. I remember being in the first grade and having a revelation about the way that letters in the alphabet signified sounds. I learned to read in a single instant, though it took a few weeks to lead me up to that instant. Then, bang! I could read. I loved it. I always have. Reading is one of the greatest joys of my life. I read everything!. I love history, mystery, psychology and biology. Favorite authors include Jack Vance, C.S. Lewis, Robert Crais, Ken Follett and Patricia Cornwell. I inherited the love of reading from my father and I’ve passed it on to my daughter. We are READERS!
Which poets are on your reading list?
My preferences in poetry tend to begin in the twentieth century. My favorites are Rilke, Lorca and e.e.cummings. I am no expert in poetry. Aside from Rumi’s timeless work I enjoy surrealism as it emerged in the 1920s. I don’t know anything about Poetry. (Barbara says: I love the capital P placed as a sign of respect.) I know just enough to be able to read the works of our best poets.
Do you self-publish or use a publishing house?
I had a brush with fame in the late 70s. A short story that I had written was awarded a major prize from Playboy Magazine. The prize garnered support from agents and publishers and I was suddenly in the spotlight with a huge opportunity. Alas, the time was not right for me.
My photography has had wider dispersion, including articles and photos in several issues of eDigital Photography and Shutterbug. I was an early adopter of technologies that I applied to astronomical photography. That work achieved considerable popularity and earned some money.
My “detour” into the darker aspects of life postponed publication of my books. My connections to editors and agents vanished and I was ultimately given no choice but to self-publish. Even now I would prefer to be published by someone else. The fact of publication by a third party validates a work in the eyes of the public. Self published books are so numerous that the value of such filters looms ever larger. If I were famous I wouldn’t hesitate to publish my own work. I’m not famous. Readers need a clue to be motivated to read my stories.
I am now in my seventies and have never enjoyed such a vibrant period of creativity. I’m amazed at the fertility that has invaded my spirit. I began studying piano a year ago and that study has ignited my fervor for making new works. I don’t worry about how I’ll create things. I’ll use photography, literature and music to form something new. I can feel it taking shape but I don’t yet know what it will be like. I have the immense pleasure of learning a new skill during a later part of my life. The joy of it; well, it’s fierce! It’s also right at my fingertips.
Tachyons Feb 6 2021
of a trillion lives
in the rare glow
of countless stars
to be worthy of the highest
Do you have a favourite poem? I do. It’s difficult to chose one from so many. But my poem, “Prophet” is at the pinnacle of my esteem. It’s online at