Interview – Roderick Bates

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am am old white guy. I run a probation and parole office in New England. I also edit an online poetry magazine called Rat’s Ass Review.

When you create, what inspires you?

Often I get an idea for a bit of humor, and then see how I can present it as a poem. This does not apply to the poem which is published here.

Tell us about the specific inspiration behind one or each of your accepted piece.

I have worked with domestic violence survivors and with violent men for most of my professional life. I am a member of my state’s domestic violence fatality review commission. This poem was an attempt to get inside the head of an abusive man.

What is your medium of choice? Why?

Relatively short, unrhymed poems. Probably has something to do with my attention span.

How did you first discover your love for creating?

I’m not sure this is the first, but it is an early and formative experience. My sixth grade teacher was a stern woman about whom we had all been warned — “You better hope you don’t get Mrs. Picard next year, she’s really mean.” As it turned out, I was put in her class. Part way through the year she told us that we would all have to do some sort of presentation. Then she took me aside and told me that I didn’t get to pick my own presentation. She told me that I was going to read the Alfred Noyes poem “The Highwayman.” When a few weeks later we did our various presentations, I took my turn and read the poem to the class. As I was nearing the end of it I saw that Mrs. Picard was crying. The realization that words on a page could move a strong adult woman to public tears was astonishing to me, and was the beginning of a deep and abiding respect for well-crafted poems and stories. And, for the record, she was a great teacher. When I was accepted into an Ivy League college six years later, she was one of the few teachers that I sought out to thank for having helped me succeed.

fēlan is old English for feel. What makes you feel anger?


Please feel free to add anything else you think is relevant.

Time is relentless; make all the art you can.

Get your copy of issue 10!

Submit your work to issue 11.

One thought on “Interview – Roderick Bates

  1. Pingback: issue 10 artists | fēlan

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