Why Become a poet? Well that’s not easy to answer? It’s like asking a bird what inspires you to sing, or a fish what inspires you to swim? Nothing inspired me to become a poet… I am a poet.”
Rickey K. Hood Q/A Session
JT: What inspired you to become a poet?
RH: What inspired me to become a poet…? Well that’s not easy to answer? It’s like asking a bird what inspires you to sing, or a fish what inspires you to swim? Nothing inspired me to become a poet… I am a poet.
From my early childhood I always wrote poems. I use to keep a secret diary where I wrote all my verses. I hid it from my family but unknown to me, my mother found my book and read it often. She told me about it many years later when my poems started being published in periodicals.
But there was a point in time that inspired me to bring my poems out of hiding. I had written a poem called Autumn’s Leaves, this was the first poem I ever let anyone read, I let my brother Ronnie read it and he wanted me to make some big changes but I ignored him and submitted it as is to a poetry contest, it won second place in the Community Pride Magazine’s poetry and prose contest in 1996, Charlotte N. C.
That inspired me to take my poems out of the closet and bring them to the world. Since then I have been published in many in periodicals, magazines and anthologies.
JT: What exciting projects are you working on?
RH: At this time I am doing a book signing and poetry reading tour for my new collection of poems Take My Hand, Walk With Me a collection of selected poems 1995 to 2018. This is a follow up from my earlier work In Due Season a collection of poetry and prose. My book signing will start August 25, 2018 at the Oxon Hill public library, 6200 Oxon Hill road in Oxon Hill, MD 20745 time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM. Future book signings will be schedule later. There will be a book signing and reading in Charlotte NC near the end of the year.
JT: When did you first consider this your profession?
RH: Unfortunately being a poet does not pay the bills, being a poet is a passion not a profession. My profession is working security for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Natural History Museum. To make a living from my books would be awesome .
JT: What would you say is your most interesting writing or quirk?
RH: I would say my most interesting writing would be a play I wrote and produced entitled And Still I Rise the life and poetry of Maya Angelou. This play was performed April 4, 2016 at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia community museum. I had never written a play before and the work of collecting the information for a biographical play was a challenge. But it all paid off in the end with a packed house and a standing ovation. That was my first and so far only play.
JT: Give my readers an example of your poems?
RH: I would like the share three poems with you, Autumn’s Leaves my first published poem and Stones (they can be found in my new book of poems Take My Hand Walk With Me ) and also And I Moved On , (from my book In Due Season ) this poem is about my moving on in life and my moving to the DC area 5 years after my mother’s death.
Brazen skin of autumn’s hue
Burnt by time/ moistened by dew
Laboring hot/ singing spirituals sway
Raisin head slaves docked at the bay
Planted deep in soil of toil
Seedlings sprout as life uncoil
Strengthened by tears of autumn’s rain
Harvest of grapes plump with pain
Pressed against white washed stone
Ooze liquid of life with crimson tone
Offering cups of sacrificed foes
The communion wine/ blood overflows
More are thrown on fields of thorns
Hot sun beat upon them till weary/ worn
My skin is dark like winter’s night
Black African/ Son of Kings
Black American/ son of slaves
Who with songs of spiritual sway
Cry tears of moist dew/ day by day
Their beds lie among rotted leaves
Nurturing their children of sundry hue
Upon this soil of hardship and toil
In the land of Autumn
Lies the fallen leaves of
Rough/ sharp/ from quarries deep
Black/ cool/ on slopes steep
With diamonds/ gems/ emeralds/ rubies
Smooth polished/ like privileged babies
Stones of beauty/ shiny/ hard
Rough/ sharp at its start
Like stones/ how similar they be
To hurt/ maim/ kill
And I’ve Moved On…
February 2, 2009
It has been five years since I’ve seen you
Five years since you left
Five long years
And I still see you
As lovely as the day we parted
Your eyes, your laugh, your perfume
Your presence and love
Still with me after five long years
Strange that time slipped past me
So quietly, so… quickly
That I didn’t realize
How long you have been away
I missed you deeply
The first years you were gone
I cried over you often
With the slightest memory
But in the last of these five years
I haven’t cried lately
I’ve grown accustomed to your being gone
The emptiness is not so bad anymore
And I’ve moved on…
The last time I saw your grave, Mom
I kissed the nameplate and told you goodbye
I’ve started a new life/ now
In a new city
JT: Do you work at your craft full-time?
RH: As often as I can. Life can keep you busy but I try to set aside time and go to a coffee house or library to sit and think. To let the poem or whatever my muse want me to write about, come out.
JT: Tell us about your published books?
RH : I have three published books: Take My Hand Walk With Me a collection of selected poem 1995 to 2018. This book is an assemblage of my smaller chap books from 1995 to 2000 all placed in one collection with newer poems bringing it up to date. This is a wonderful journey through the times of the 1990’s million man march, early 2000’s islamophobia, to resent police killings of innocent black men, as well as beautifully written poems on love and life.
In Due Season is a collection of poetry and prose that reflect the life experience of a man that has struggled and made peace with his faith, sexual orientation, and loss of loved ones. This work is a holistic view of life; the bad, the good, and the lovely. The essays are commentaries on the writing world, the difficulties of homosexual relationships in the black community, Religion and the death of my mother. There are poems that partner with each section of essays.
Submissions, a 31 day Devotional of Reflections, Praises in Poetry from an Islamic Perspective, is a daily read of spiritually uplifting and food for thought commentaries and poems. You don’t need to be Muslim to enjoy this spiritual food for the soul.
JT: Describe your poetry style.
RH: I would say my style is free thought. Though I am strongly influenced by the poets of the Harlem Renaissance .
JT: What poets have inspired you?
RH: Many have inspired me, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullens, Nikki Giovanni, Etheridge Knight and many more. I love George Moses Horton a 19 th century poet and slave from N.C., he wrote beautiful love poems for his white master to sell.
Rickey K. Hood Contact Informaton !
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