Colton Cox: Author Interview for The Ram Boutique
River Ram Press is proud to showcase Colton Cox as our third author for The Ram Boutique Literary Journal Volume 2, to be published in April 2017. Three of Colton’s poems, “Paperbacks,” “July 1993,” and “In Narbonne” have been selected for publication. These pieces really grabbed our attention as having a unique voice and a beautiful intimacy between the speaker and the reader.
If you would like to join Colton as one of our selected authors, check out our Submission Guidelines on the RRP Website.
- First of all, tell our readers a little about yourself.
I’m born, raised, and continue to live in the Hudson Valley, where there is a constancy of art and culture. A lot of local cities and towns boast thriving scenes, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of people who are pushing for the continued life of great art around here.
I’ve held bunch of different positions since I’ve graduated college–first working as a publicity intern for a major trade publisher, then as a wine consultant, a systems assistant for an academic publisher, and now I’ve recently ventured into the realm of social media with Odyssey, where I’m an Assistant Managing Editor. I also founded an artistic collective called The New Independents and have a forthcoming publication which will feature work from artists both local and international.
- What is your background as a writer?
Like a lot of people, I’ve been writing since I was a child. I began with comic books and stories about superheroes, often drawing the pictures to go along with my writing, though I was never a very good visual artist.
I thrived on essay writing through high school and college, and still refer to my academic work as the most fulfilling I’ve done, though poetry has held a special place for me throughout. I published poetry and short fiction in Art & Scope when I was an undergraduate, as well as part of a project for The America Book — a collection published at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
I’ve continued writing on a regular basis since college, poetry becoming a sort of refuge for me in moments of stress or anxiety.
- Where did the idea for this piece come/how do you get inspired to write?
I began writing letters to my close friends in 2015 — I felt that letter-writing is an artform in itself, and one that isn’t frequently enough explored in poetry, so I wanted to see how I could handle the form with verse. It resulted in a lot of very clunky poetry, but occasionally something shone through, mainly because it helps to focus your writing towards an exact person or thing.
I’m inspired to write out of frustration, boredom, anxiety, depression, joy — I use poetry to try and capture the emotional nucleus of a moment, even if it doesn’t translate exactly to an audience. I suppose I don’t write for anybody but myself, and I think poets have the right to be extremely selfish artists; I don’t exactly care if my poetry doesn’t result in utter clarity, as long as it’s coming from the gut.
- What is your ideal time and place to write?
I often write on my commutes to the city (I travel about 2 hours to my job, 2 hours back home), which may explain why they tend to be a bit dismal. There’s a sense of complete stagnancy and boredom that you encounter on trains — I try to capture the little things I notice and embellish them in a poem. I always look for the window seat to make sure I can see things happening; people standing in street corners waiting for their ride, animals running from the noise of the train, seasons changing during the colder months. There’s a lot that gets ignored when you’re a commuter because it’s so easy to tune out the world and b
e miserable. I figure I can at least turn that misery into something productive.
- Why do you write?
I don’t know exactly why I write. It sounds cliché, but I often find myself thinking in metaphor and verse, comparing objects and events, looking for patterns and motives. If I didn’t write, these thoughts wouldn’t have an outlet and I’d probably end up going crazy. I’m always talking to myself, writing on my hands and scraps of paper, and these things usually turn into some kind of poem — I don’t believe in having a strict schedule or way of going about poetry; it has to happen organically, and that often includes writing on whatever you’ve got available.
It was a pleasure to have my poetry accepted by the Boutique. The personal touch my work received from Dan Rositano has given me the boost I needed to not only continue my poetry, but to also seek further publishing opportunities and support local/regional publications. You can always detect quality when it is driven by a small group of hard-working and fiercely creative people; River Ram Press embodies this quality completely.
Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Colton Cox is a poet and editor who commutes too much during the day and sleeps too little at night. He works professionally in publishing and social media, otherwise spending his time staring mournfully at blank documents and wishing his writing into existence. When that fails, he usually retreats to quiet corners in public cafés to Frankenstein his verse from the bits of conversation happening around him. The River Ram Press Boutique is the first publication to feature his poetry.