Being a little older, I think I've gained a little understanding of life. That's about the best thing I can say about myself. I've always been a big reader. I came from a family of nine children. I didn't take much interest in school while growing up. Most of what I've really learned was gained much later in life. Trial and error and a lot of mistakes will teach great lessons for those who are open to them.
I had no interest in poetry until I picked up a book of poems from T. S. Elliott. That was in prison as a very young man. Lots of drugs and crime can put you there. I wouldn't suggest that path as a road to enlightenment. I never knew that someone could use words like that until I read him. I would count myself as a success if I could write half as well as that man did.
I worked on the river for most of my adult life after I was released from prison in 1974. The boats taught me about life and how things are. I loved the life. In recent years I've been working on the bank side of the industry. I wanted my first book to reflect that life. The life of someone who has worked around and upon the inland waterways. Much of this book of poetry is about the myths, legends and history of that industry. This is the only book of poetry that I will write about the rivers. I have plans for others, but they will concern themselves with other things entirely. This one though, springs from what I actually do.
Robert R. Whitford