Monday, December 3, 2012

From Where I Stand Blog Tour

Please welcome Robert Zimmermann as he makes a stop at Kayleigh's Spot during his From Where I Stand Blog Tour to talk about the his debut book of poetry.

From Where I Stand Blurb: From Robert Zimmermann comes From Where I Stand, an emotional debut poetry collection. Zimmermann explores strained parental relationships, loss of life, and the despair associated with grief. Alongside these darker themes, he delves into the small areas of life that often go unnoticed but become the hope we are searching for.

Here's his guest post followed by a poem out of his book and a video of him reading the poem.

The Music of Poetry

Part of the beauty poetry has, is that it’s not only words on a page. Poetry is as much a musical experience, like the lyrics of a song, as it is a work of printed literature. This is something that took me a while to fully understand and appreciate, when I was earning my degree in creative writing.

I had been writing poems for years, and I had also been writing song lyrics on the side. I have no idea how great a benefit reading poetry (as well as prose) out loud was, until my poetry professor explained his views on the concept. I almost never recited my work before that. I never saw a point. Now, I’m in the habit of reciting ALL of my poetry in order to get the edits done right and for the poem to sound right.

This doesn’t have to be about the metre or rhyme of a poem. Those are the obvious musical aspects of a poem. My poetry rarely focuses on rhyme and if you asked me what metre they were in...I’d just laugh at you for assuming I knew that answer, haha. For me it’s all about finding words I stumble on when reading. The mind can more easily breeze by more difficult words when silently reading a line, than when the words are to be spoken.

Aside from my editing process, what is the point of reading out loud? It’s the experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a poem and not really cared about it. But then when I heard it read or read it out loud myself, I grew to appreciate it much more. From a reading, the audience can hear and feel the emotion from the words on a page, thrown at them. They can close their eyes and visualize the poem much better than if they needed to keep their eyes open to read it themselves.

Different readers will also give a different interpretation of the poem through varying the stresses on words or other variables that they are free to alter. Everyone reads a poem differently. Different parts will be held dear by different readers. This is also a reason why poetry is so powerful. Even the simplest poems, the ones that don’t have readers wishing the poet just said what he wanted already, have many interpretations.

In a way it’s similar to when musicians cover each other’s songs. One artist might do an almost spot-on cover, while a different artist will turn a classic rock ballad into a screamo shit-show. Different fans will like the newer version rather than the original, or vice-versa. It’s all about what’s more important to the reader/musician, and in turn the audience will enjoy it better or worse through them.

There is a music to poetry that can’t be fully appreciated until the words are taken from the page and uttered from the mouth. I know you don’t all enjoy poetry, but if you have some time and want to test your view on poetry....go find a poem and find a recording of it (it’s not always easy to find recordings, sorry). Read the poem a few times, then listen to the recording. Does it help you enjoy it more or less?


"Behind The Mask"
Throughout high school, I would hide in books.
It was easier to lose the world around me,
and draw into myself, than it was
to face my problems.

While Hemingway was in Africa
hunting exotic beasts on his safaris,
I was looking through the page at my bedroom,
where I spent nights attempting to sleep.
In the kitchen, my parents would argue.
Hemingway’s gun would kill another animal;
shots would ring out late into the night.

I used the stories in books as a mask.
The outside world would see a reader,
while in reality,
I wasn’t reading. I was trying to live in the pages,
but the stories of my real world wouldn’t fade away.
There was too much that I kept inside,
and I didn’t know how to let anything out.

No one wanted to listen.
My growing life’s story
tormented me.
The torment pushed me deeper into hiding.
When I was reading of Jim Morrison on stage,
facing the drummer instead of the crowd,
I saw myself as the Lizard King.
I was Jim. I was hiding my face from the world.

Eventually, we turned around slowly.
There was an audience eager to listen.

I withdrew my mask.
Instead of hiding behind a world of books,
I spoke out. I opened up.
I revealed myself.
My story stood naked, for all to hear.



About the Author:

Robert has been writing poetry since the eleventh grade. His writing started as impulsive rambling, but soon became a passion. A few years later he attended SUNY Potsdam where he received a B.A. in Creative Writing.
His main focus is poetry, but at times you can find him dabbling in short fiction. Robert has also created the blog A Life Among The Pages, where he posts his writing as well as book reviews.

When he’s not reading or writing, Robert enjoys spending time with his dog, Deuc. Deuc ran out of the woods in August 2011 and that have been inseparable ever since.


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Robert will be giving away 5 ebook copies (.mobi, .epub, or PDF) of From Where I Stand at the end of the tour. To enter, please leave a thoughtful comment on this post and be sure to leave an email to be contacted with if you’re a winner. One comment per person per post, feel free to comment on multiple posts for an extra entry for each. Winners will be gathered together from all the blog tour stops and then chosen randomly.

Giveaway ends December 9th at 12:01AM. Winners to be announced soon after they are selected.

Thanks Robert for stopping in! I hope you all enjoyed both his guest post and his poem. Head on over to his blog to check out the rest of the stops on his tour!