Sometimes a good book really is all you need. They have the power to transform, take your mind off of troubles, whisk you to fantasy lands, and even if for a mere hour, allow you peek into the intimate details of someone else’s life. So we’re saluting the authors who keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us wanting more–sharing with you our favorite scribes who put pen to paper and uplift voices for the unheard.
Website (s): www.nikrichard.com, myspace.com/thevoiceofreason1
Very rarely do we find a book that is so dead on, so true that it echoes’s in the essence of our being. Love and Water is that book. Written, illustrated, and self-published by Nik Richard, a 22-year-old New Orleans native, Love and Water is a collection of poems that describes the relationship between the author and the city of New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. Richard chats with Clutch about his future plans for New Orleans and the essential necessity we all need – Love and Water.
Clutch: How did you get started writing poetry?
NR: I started writing in class, doing assignments. Just like everybody else. I always wanted to be better than others. It always motivated me when the teacher would say, “Good job Nik! That was really good.” I started writing a lot in high school.
Clutch: How did the theme of Love and Water come about?
NR: I had the book before I had the title. It’s a symbol. Water represents Katrina and love is compared to death. It was a quote from the poem and I thought that it was a perfect title for the whole book.
Clutch: In Love and Water, there are no poem titles, allowing the book to read like one poem. Why is that?
NR: Most performing poets put out a cd. I wanted to do something different. When you read the back of a cd, you see the song titles and the tracks. When a cd plays, there are no titles or anything differentiating one song from the next and that’s how I wanted my book to be. On a cd, you know it’s a different song when the beat changes and in my book, you’ll know it’s a different poem when my handwriting or font changes.
Clutch: What are your personal goals for Love and Water and in what way do you want it to affect readers?
NR: My goal is to get people to recognize my art for what it is. I want to get people who didn’t experience Katrina or only saw it on CNN to gain some insight on what it was like. That’s why I’m really glad the book is reaching those outside the New Orleans area.
Clutch: You’re officially an international poet, congratulations! How did that come about?
NR: I got a myspace message saying they wanted to buy the book and their address was in England. It just shows what Myspace networking can do.
Clutch: Do you prefer performing your poetry or writing it? Why or why not?
NR: My junior year in high school I was introduced to performance poetry. I like that you get to see an immediate reaction to the poem. You can see if people like the poem or not. The only thing when performing, the poems can’t exceed three minutes. After that, people stop listening. I like writing because allows me to make the poems more intimate and freer.
Clutch: You’re pursuing a degree in Urban Planning. Why this major as opposed to writing and what do you plan to do with that degree in the future?
NR: I started my first year of college out as fine arts major, painting and sculpting then Katrina happened. After Katrina, I sat out a year of school and started researching Urban Planning. The University of New Orleans is the only school in Louisiana to offer Urban Planning and ironically, New Orleans has a major need for city & economic development. After I graduate, I plan to help rebuild the city and the surrounding areas.
Clutch: Are there any other books in the works?
NR: Love and Water is one of three. You can pretty much expect another book. I plan on publishing a book every 2 years. The second book will be out in 2010 and the third book will be out in 2012.
Clutch: What advice would you give to aspiring poets?
NR: Read. Know what good poetry is. Read a lot and write a lot because your first poem isn’t going to be your best poem. I just want people to know that what you thought is what you’re capable of. If you take one step toward our dream, it will be easier to follow it.