1. Where did you grow up and how many siblings did you have? Has your background influenced the poems you write?
I grew up in Illinois, due east of St. Louis, oldest child with one brother and three sisters. Blue collar family, small town, father died at an early age. My background has certainly influenced me as a writer, from the values we learned at home and in parochial school to the people we knew and grew up with. I was an inveterate reader as a child and read literally everything I could get my hands on, and my lexicon and vocabulary and knowledge of syntax are derived from my life of reading. (Roy now lives in Wichita, Kansas.)
2. When did you start writing poetry? What inspired you do to do so?
I began to write poetry in high school. I also wrote short stories. The stories were inspired by having read so many of them; I was a fan of science fiction magazines. I started writing poetry when I was writing notes to my high school sweetheart. We have been married for 54 years, so the love poems apparently worked.
3. I know that you spent your career as an engineer. Do you think it unusual for an engineer to also be a poet?
Probably, but my reading habits had instilled in me a love for the English language and for literature. I have also always had a wide area of interests, and have always delved deeply into anything I got into, including poetry. I dabbled in poetry for years, and went through spurts of writing and submitting them for publication, but my job kept me from having much leisure time. After retirement I got involved in a lot of new interests, and poetry has occupied much of my spare time for the past five years.
4. What triggers you to begin a new poem?
I try to write daily; that process almost insures that something will be put on paper that can eventually be worked into a poem. Almost anything, music, sunsets, people, can inspire a poem, but I find that when reading someone else's poetry I often am struck by a few words or lines that send me off writing.
5. Do you have any idea how many poems you have written?
I don't really keep count, but including unfinished drafts, probably over a thousand.
Come back tomorrow to read more about Roy Beckemeyer.