Interview with Logan Roberts

Why Poetry? 

I wrote a little bit back in school, which was about 15-20 years ago. I didn’t get into poetry in any sort of serious way until I think 2018. I started reading it, and then after reading a few books, I had a hunger to write it. I’ve always been an artist, designer, whatever, but when I started writing poetry it was like a whole new medium for me. Honestly, I like the absurdity that you can create with poetry. I know poetry has a history of form, but again, I love the absurdity of creating poems. One thing I’ve been doing is writing, say, 5 lines, and then the next 5 lines that follow can only be made up of words from the previous 5 lines. That might not be some revolutionary thing, but it’s interesting to see how the brain connects words through emotions, memories, and all that stuff. 

Who are you currently reading? 

At the moment I’m reading no one. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, trying to gather myself and just see what happens for a minute without producing a lot of work. When I write, or make any art, I get really caught up in it, and it can get a bit obsessive. I have a family and work and all that stuff, so breaks are good. The last book I read though was a Richard Siken book, and I’ve been into reading a lot of dadaist poetry online, like stuff from the people over at c22 Press.

What poets/artists have impacted your work?

Artistically as a whole, I’m inspired by the Abstract Expressionist painters. At the end of the day I like artwork that seems to follow a “let’s see what happens” approach, and just letting whatever comes about be what is. I guess I do that in my poetry a lot as well, I’d say about 60-80% of the time my poems never get any edits after the initial writing. More modern day artists I like are Derek Hess and Jacob Bannon, which again, their work is very wild, chaotic yet structured. Poetically, my first favorite poet was Kaveh Akbar, so I got to say that up front, even as I venture further into the smaller poetry worlds, Kaveh’s poetry will always hold a special place for me, both spiritually and in craft. Richard Siken and Zachary Schomburg have been influential as well. I mean, really every poet and artist whose work I’ve seen/heard/read has influenced me in some way I suppose. 

What are some features of poems you enjoy when reading?

My gut response is I like poems that can balance simplicity with absurdity. Both of those things can go in really terrible directions, but to be able to do both is what really impresses me when I’m reading something. I keep coming back to Siken, but one of my all time favorite opening lines is from his poem “Landscape With Fruit Rot And Millipede”, he opens up with this line: “I cut off my head and threw it in the sky. It turned/ into birds. I called it thinking.” I love that, the words are simple, easy words to grasp, but the way they are positioned to build the poem, it’s incredible to me. I’m not a huge fan of traditional forms, or poems that require me to read them with a dictionary. 

Would you mind giving us some backstory behind the poem “Being”? 

This poem is about my struggle with having some sense of spirituality. For most of my life I’d say I was agnostic towards any form of religious life or spirituality. About 12 years ago that all changed, and I honestly don’t know if that change has been for the better if I’m being honest. A lot of my poetry is me trying to figure things out in my personal life, and I guess I find it all rather ridiculous that I’m trying to figure out questions that people have been asking forever. The opening line is a straight confession, and from there I let my mind wander into whatever emotions I was feeling at the time, probably anxiety or depression, confusion about what life is supposed to be about. Towards the middle you find the part about the valley of bodies, which looking back on it, that valley of bodies was probably my way of saying I need somewhere to hide all the “me’s” I’ve killed trying to figure out what life is supposed to be about. Everytime I hit that wall of doubt and uncertainty, a little bit more of me erodes away I think, and maybe that erosion is the slow end of me, or a transformation into something better. At the end of the poem though, who knows which way it goes, and why bother trying to figure it out as life continues to pass by? I guess for me it’s all a way of letting things go, while trying to not fall into being too naive or cynical, or something like that. 

Where does a poem start for you? 

A poem typically starts either from something I’m thinking about, or from an experience I’ve had. For example, I’ll be thinking through somethings, maybe it’s reflecting on the past week, or maybe it’s thinking through some thoughts about a deeper subject (life, the world, spiritual things, etc.). Sometimes during that thought process I’ll have a thought that seems to spark something in my mind, something that says, “write that down, it’s a good line for a poem”. Same thing with an experience, for example, playing with my kids. Sometimes my kids will say the craziest things, or will string words together in ways that as an adult, my brain has told me not to do. Same thing, I’ll write it down or type it into my notes app. Later I take these ideas, and either combine them into one poem, or take one line idea at a time, and dwell on it for a while, sit with it, see where it could go. The poems you’ve published of mine are mostly thought-process poems. 

Are these poems part of a larger collection? 

They were, and now I’m not sure. They may still live on in a larger collection, but I’ve got 2 or 3 ideas for larger collections floating around now. If they do, it’s possible that they see some changes, maybe in form, like adding in some line breaks or something a little different. 

Do you have any other projects that you’d like to point readers toward? 

At the moment I’m still trying to point people to my book. I have a full length poetry collection on Amazon titled, THE UNIVERSE HAS AN OCULAR MIGRAINE. It’s been out for almost a year at the time of this interview, and it’s my first full-length. It was written mostly during a harsh winter in Ohio, while I was struggling through the last wave of drinking before I stopped. I like to tell people it’s a work of isolation, meaning in it I dug really deep, perhaps in an unhealthy way even, into some rooted feelings of loneliness and what happens when we detach from the things, people, and situations around us. The interesting bit about that collection is a lot of the poems are straight up me writing a poem, but some of them are me interacting with word/text generators, and using spam emails to write poems. I enjoyed making it, I do all my own cover designs and document formatting, so I’d love to have people check it out and give me feedback and what not, but most importantly to grow my relationship with other artists and writers.