I write poetry.
Because artistic expression is not a hobby. It is a compulsion, a need, a profound desire. Because it permits me a chance to be eloquent, and an opportunity not to be. Because it makes me and those I share my art with feel less alone on the journey. Because it maps my world, illuminates the contours and boundaries of my inner self. Because it gives a deeper meaning to life. Because beyond the mundane, ordinary world, there is an invisible river, a dream life, a source: that I sense and feel when I write.
By paying attention, by caring, by letting go, by being patient, by being open to whatever comes. By working hard, by being persistent. By using all I’ve been taught about the art, and by being willing to throw all I’ve been taught out the window. By being willing to face my fears, my demons, my desires, my past, my self.
Robert Fanning is the author of American Prophet (Marick Press), The Seed Thieves (Marick Press) and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. Recent work has also appeared on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor on NPR, and Fanning was interviewed at the Library of Congress for the nationally-syndicated radio program “The Poet and the Poem.” A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is also the founder and facilitator of the Wellspring Literary Series in Mt. Pleasant, MI., where he lives with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children.