Please welcome Raymond Keen to Limelight
1. Please tell us the name of your book. Love Poems for Cannibals
2. Please tell us a little about your book. As the reader moves through Love Poems for Cannibals, he/she will find poems of war (in this case Vietnam), poems dealing with current spiritual issues (Christianity, Buddhism, spiritual doubt and the soaring-singing human spirit), dysfunctional family relationships and feelings, portraits of great figures in contemporary human history presented with candor and wit, poems that rage against the omnipresence of human hypocrisy, and poems that present American/Western civilization under a glaring light – with the single redemptive quality that this author’s truth sings.
3. Why did you choose to write about this topic (these poems)? I think that most of my poems begin with hearing or remembering some beautiful language, or hearing or remembering some awful cliché that serves to cover or obscure some important truth. I want, by use of intentionally clichéd language, to bring into awareness just how inadequate language is to express the depth of reality, or even a “moment of reality.” My purpose is not to re-vision the world, but to help see it more clearly, and to help understand that language can be an impediment to seeing clearly. I want to upset and disrupt the automatic thinking of my audience, to awaken them from their assumed interpretations of the world.
4. Is this a personal story, or is it about someone else? All of the poems are my personal or fantasized view of the world. They are about real and imagined events, real and imagined characters, with some clearly autobiographical material, particularly in the first section — the poems about Vietnam (“The Vietnam War is not dinky dau.”)
5. What was the most difficult part to write in your book? Why? The most difficult part to write was the last of the eight sections of the book — “Prose Coda.” The two long prose pieces at the end were hard to sustain in their intensity, and underwent a number of revisions. In particular, the bitterly comic rant I created coming from “Osama bin Laden” about the Western media had to sound real, and yet touch on the actual many things wrong and hypocritical in the Western World and media — all this coming from the mouth of Osama bin Laden. This rant goes on for five pages, and never loses its edge. It is titled (with tongue in cheek): “Osama bin Laden’s Fatwah Against the American Satan’s Instrument of Spiritual Genocide, The Media (excerpted transcript from video # 6, translated from the Arabic)”
6. Are you self-published? Yes, by CreateSpace
7. Have you published other books? No, this is my first book.
8. Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What did you do to overcome it? Yes I have suffered from writer’s block. My solution was to drink heavily — JUST KIDDING! J The best thing to deal with writer’s block for me is to stop trying so hard to write, and relax.
9. Do you do any of your own marketing? If yes, how do market your book? I do most of my marketing through social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I plan to try and do some presentations at literary clubs in Tucson, and libraries in the Tucson area in 2014. I did have a book signing in my home town of Pueblo, Colorado, on November 5, 2013. I also have a reading of my poetry scheduled at the Pima County Public Library in Green Valley, Arizona (Joyner-Green Valley Branch) scheduled on April 1, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm.
10. Have any readers tried to reach out to you? Are your replies short and to the point, or do you partake in a conversation with them? I have had conversations with readers, and I enjoy reading and answering questions about my poems, and about poetry in general. I enjoy hearing what people think of my poems.
11. If you can connect with your favorite author on one of your networks, which author would that be? Novelist, Cormac McCarthy
12. What is next on your agenda? I plan to self-publish a drama with CreateSpace, The Private and Public Life of King Able, in 2014.
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