Average Poet”. Bob currently lives in the farm country of upstate New York where he was born and bred. He is a man who tries to understand the world from his own point of view. “I have always striven to be as original as I can in this cliché driven world” says bob. When asking him as to why he chose the name “Average Poet” for his poetry blog his response came threefold. “I am the average poet, I love to think and write. I feel until I have a book or some other type of poetical accomplishment I am average in every sense of the word. I believe in staying humble. Any time in my life that I have been boastful has led to either great disappointment or great embarrassment.” This seems to be more than an average man to me but who am I to say.
PU: Why do you write poetry and how long have you been writing? Who is your biggest supporter?
RCH: I’m honestly not sure why I began to write. I started around 15 and have been writing for 30 years. Creativity was always encouraged when I was growing up whether it was in school or church. There weren’t all the distractions of the modern world and I started reading adult books at a very young age. I think I read ‘Roots’ when I was around twelve and was captivated by the storytelling. Whenever I came across a word I didn’t understand I would look it up in the dictionary. Also my Mother, her Mother, and Stepfather Frank were genius level when it came to words. I can remember watching marathon Scrabble matches between them and being so fascinated with their knowledge of our language that it inspired me to learn myself. Now I write to express my creative side and to empty my imaginative mind which would go insane without some kind of outlet.
As far as my biggest supporter, I’d have to say it’s Shirley Allard from NH. We’ve never met but she found my poetry on another site, emailed me and we have been friends ever since. Shirley, along with Harry Furness published the online magazine called Word Catalyst and I was invited to contribute. This was the first time I actually felt like a real writer and my output grew in maturity and scope. I was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize for my poem ‘Briar’s Patch’ which can be found, along with my articles, at the Word Catalyst website in the archives.
Here’s a link to Word Catalyst
PU: What style of poem do you write the most? What do you find the most difficult about writing poetry?
RCH: I have mainly stayed with structured rhyming verse because everyone writes free verse so I thought it might stand out if I could do it well. The most difficult thing is staying original. We don’t even realize how many clichés we deal with on a daily basis and these invariably find their way into our speech and writing. And also, it’s a constant battle to avoid abstractions, remember – show, don’t tell.
PU: I have found that my life and moods play a huge role in my writing. When I’m happy, I am too busy to write and when I’m sad or lonely I tend to write much more. I have made it a point to change that in my life and write more often when happy because it makes for better memories. When do you write? Are you a better writer when you are happy, sad, or lonely?
RCH: I have found that you must write everyday, even forcing yourself to if necessary, to keep your edge. Now that doesn’t mean you have to share every word you write with the world, my computer is bogged down with a myriad of half written poems and ill-fated lines. And while it is obviously more appealing to others if you write happy thoughts, think of how many popular poems and even songs deal with less than happy circumstances – it’s all in how you say it.
PU: What poem, written by you, do you like the most and why?
RCH: Keepsake - This was a personal turning point for me in how I viewed my Mother’s tragic life and death, but also the comment left by oldrhymer actually made me cry and still brings a tear to my eye today. That’s why we write poetry, to inspire others.
PU: Do you have a favorite poet? If so who are they? What is your favorite poem by them?
RCH: I would say it’s a tie between Frost and Poe. My favorite poem and I think the one that describes me best, is Alone by Edgar Allen Poe
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view
~ Edgar Allan Poe
PU: Have you ever been published? Do you write with hopes of being published one day or is your writing just an expression or hobby for you?
RCH: Only two poems in True Love magazine way back when, everything else is online. I won’t give links but if anyone is interested they can just google my full name. Yes I want to be published in the worst way, and not by paying for it myself.
PU: If you had a pet Giraffe what would you name he or she and where would you keep it? ( what I thought to be a unique question turned out not so as Bob pointed me right to a poem covering the thought to be quirky topic. If time permits please be sure to read this fun little poem.
PU: What poets in the poetry blogosphere do you like and read the most?
Shirley Allard Ozymadiaz
Whispers In The Wind Ozymandiaz Wasting Time
PU: What other talents do you have? Poets are often creative on many different levels, when you are not writing what other hobbies or creative things do you do?
RCH: I write songs, play guitar and sing (I’m in a band), draw and am a very good cook/baker. My cheesecake is quite excellent according to those that have eaten it. Here is a link to one of my drawings with obligatory poem of course: Know Your Role
PU: Everyone has their favorites quotes they live by or repeat, mine is “He who Laughs…Lasts” ~ Mary Pettitbone Poole. What quote do you use often or live by.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy ~ Shakespeare
Poets United would like to thank Robert Cameron Hazelton "Bob" for taking the time out of his daily grind to share a little bit about the man behind the "Average Poet". His approach to life and writing is inspirational to me and hopefully others who read his work. If you would like to learn more about Bob or read some of his poetry please be sure to visit his blog "Average Poet". Maybe if we get lucky enough one day he will post one of his songs in a video.
As you can see from the above, there is much more to a poet than just their poetry. The folks that live behind the pen can be some of the most interesting people around. We look forward to giving our readers an intimate and personal look at some of the other poets found here at Poets United in future, so be sure to return to Poets United each week to see who we chat with next. Who knows it may be you that we talk to next.