"Luckily I have a coffee stained notepad to log this disappointment."
Disappointment or better yet disenchantment... these are thoughts and visions of a 23 year old writer from Norwich, England facing the reality of the world around him. From the parties, to the girls, to celebrities, to media, to the workplace all of life's disappointments are logged with in Richard Wink's latest chapbook, The Magnificent Guffaw. That's right guffaw, in spite of the false nature of reality there is a certain amount humor in botox lips and the sacrifice for orange skin. It is this ability laugh at all of the problems found in his relationships that gives him hope.
The Magnificent Guffaw is Richard's third chapbook behind The Beehives and Stress. He the editor of the on-line literary (for common people) Gloom Cupboard. Recently, Richard was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): Your latest chapbook, The Magnificent Guffaw, is a great collection touching on several topics. How did you choose the poems for this collection? Is there a connecting theme?
Richard Wink (RW): I often find the process of choosing poetry for a collection quite daunting but my main aims for this chapbook were to attempt to move on from 'Stress' my previous chapbook which was in many ways was a book summing up my adolescence, chasing after love, getting pissed and puking in the back of a Taxi . 'The Magnificent Guffaw' is the step into adulthood (I hate that word) and has much more depth, touching upon a great deal of topics including the love / hate relationship I have with the city of Norwich which is the recurrent theme throughout the book. I guess in many ways there is a sense of optimism, though its not in the face of the reader its constantly bubbling under the surface of the chapbook. Going back to the process of selection its basically trial and error, I'm writing poetry everyday so the wheels are always turning and there is always plenty of material to work with, the challenge is putting it together and trying to tell a story.
OA: The final poem in the collection, Hope, is a great way to close the book. It also feels like the most honest piece as well. Did this piece originate as a letter? Can you tell the story behind it?RW:It's written about my parents, though my immediate family has gone through a lot we have always stuck together and that has been very important to me personally. I come from a family of unique and wonderful characters and have been brought up with a strong work ethic, a liberal take on the world and a desire to succeed against the odds. Despite making some mistakes my family have always supported me and this poem is probably the most literal and open of the collection as it talks of my desire to provide for my parents as they have provided for me.
OA: Why isn't poetry more marketable? I am sure the on-line marketplace has helped, but why are more people not buying chapbooks?
RW: In my personal opinion there aren't many personalities in the world of poetry. People tend to gravitate towards charismatic and interesting people, people who have an element of mystique and danger surrounding them. I know of many talented poets around the world who are alive and kicking but I can't think of the face behind the page. In the past poets were like rockstars, they flirted with high society, courted a myth and created an interest and a fascination. The only group of poets who could potentially flirt with the mainstream are The Brutalists, though I've been openly critical of them in the past they are at least trying to force poetry down peoples throats which can only be a good thing.With regard to why people are not buying chapbooks, I think in many ways poets are preaching to the converted and selling books to the same audience. I think some writers have a deluded idea that they are going to make a few quick bucks with their poetry which should never be the case. Poetry is an art, its a simple art that anyone can do but its an art nonetheless and should not be treated as a commodity. I'm perfectly happy to give my books away for free if it will mean that people will read what I have written.
OA: There seems to be big things going on over at Gloom Cupboard. What can you tell us about the print edition?
RW: Its taken off quite nicely which has surprised me somewhat as whenever I start a new project I do so with a lot of trepidation and a healthy dose of scepticism. The aim of Gloom Cupboard is to act as a showcase for writers. I have no ulterior motives and importantly there are very few restrictions in terms of style and content.
OA: What were the original thoughts behind starting a literary journal? Are you pleased with the outcome thus far?
RW: Last year was the fortieth anniversary of the year of Punk 1977. The Pistols got back together for more filthy lucre and there was a whole host of nostalgic programmes on TV. I became fascinated about the DIY ethic surrounding the filth and the fury and along with being influenced by what I read in Simon Reynolds book 'Rip it up and start again' I decided to get off my arse and get involved more in the 'literary scene' so I started Gloom Cupboard. The name 'Gloom Cupboard' came about when I got home after a heavy night out and wandered around the kitchen looking for a cup so I could rehydrate with a glass of water. Even with the light on the cupboard was gloomy and I struggled to find a cup and then I thought to myself gloom cupboard. I wrote it in my notepad and randomly chose it. That's such a crap story but sadly its true, its not a metaphor for the inner workings of the human soul or anything interesting like that Am I pleased? Yes extremely so, its going well touch wood and I have discovered the work of many fantastic writers who i'm sure will all go on to great things.
OA: What's next for Richard Wink?
RW: I'm working on my first novel. Those who read the first draft of this will know that it was pretty shit, so I have reworked it completely and have began the arduous process of typing it up. I have plans to release another chapbook this year and then there is the much anticipated Print Edition of Gloom Cupboard. I like to have my fingers in many pies so to speak. I am also interested in working on a collaboration with someone as well but that's just an idea i'm floating out there.
OA: Coffee, if yes what is your favourite type of coffee and where is your favourite coffee spot?RW: I've tried to embrace Starbucks I really have, going for these fancy mocha choca latino cappuccinos but I like my drinks to be simple. Basic coffee, milk and two sugars.
OA: Some feel music and poetry are closely related. What type of music do you enjoy? Does music ever affect your work in anyway?
RW: I'm a huge fan of all types of music. I cannot write without music in the background, so its an integral part of the creative process. Recently I've gotten into Jeffrey Lewis, Television, Cocteau Twins, Born Against and Roxy Music, so yes I am shunning the hype and going back in a time machine revisiting the classics.
To purchase a copy of The Magnificent Guffaw you can e-mail Richard directly here.