Today we welcome New Zealand poet, Waltman Whiter.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Waltman Whiter: I am a middle-aged father of three children and twenty-five years married to my wife, I enjoy the outdoors and looking after my farm and work as a consultant in the road safety industry.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
I wrote and self-published my first book of twenty poems last year. Its title was The Road This Limitless. My poems deal with the journey and emotions that we experience in life.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Waltman Whiter: I have no work in progress at the moment.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Waltman Whiter: The most difficult piece a poem I wrote recently about having to put my dog Gigi down after I found her mauling a sheep. This had a profound effect on my adult children and I had to deal with the dynamic of having to kill a beloved companion as well as the rejection I received from my children.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Waltman Whiter: It’s internal research; more self-analysis or soul searching. It is important to write honestly and also search out the root of the motivations and emotions within myself. There are a few surprises down deep in there.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Waltman Whiter: Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, to be honest I don’t do a lot of reading.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Waltman Whiter: My wife Rachel, I wrote her a poem about twenty-five years ago and didn’t write another for twenty-two years. She was telling me all along that I had a talent for writing.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Waltman Whiter: My strengths would probably be my ability to tap into my own emotions and the emotions of others so probably empathy. I think that comes out in my writing.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Waltman Whiter: No routine. I can write daily and then do no writing for months .I have to be feeling it, experiencing it, in order to write it down
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Waltman Whiter: I would like to see myself recognized by other poets in my country as a poet and have another couple of books published.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Waltman Whiter: I’m the novice of novices, but I would say read more and write more (I need to actually follow this advice myself). Also, don’t give up even when you feel no one appreciates or cares about what you have written, keep going no matter what.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Waltman Whiter: I have a poem called Dark Days its deeply melancholy and sad, the piece conveys a self-realization that the writer is alone and worthless. I had a few people message me that it touched them deeply and I knew that these same people identified with what I wrote, it made me feel sad for them because I also identified with them through the poem. The connection to another human being that is born out of something I wrote is the best ever compliment I could ever receive.
Book ‘Em: Provide and excerpt of your work that you would like to share with our members.
Upstream In my wild country The moon swings On invisible thread Like a pendulum First near then far Her unyielding eye beckons Pulling me and mine towards A reluctant sanctuary Seeking to deliver me From the constant sea Downstream
Upstream In my hidden lands Above the Manuka She glides on by Whispering secrets Pursuing her wildly Forever her allegiant Welcoming the cold And blisters on my hands Stumbling over river boulders My sanity falls away and floats Downstream
Upstream In my forgotten realm Seeking sparkling source And her terrible aspect Huffing wheezing breath Deafening chest thumps As she swings past Grazing the crest Throwing myself ungraceful leap I touch her at last Dawn discovers my empty body Downstream