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Tuesday, 3 November 2020





The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

This run of A Dozen Questions is by invitation only - 12 writers (of many) I admire.

Robin McNamara is an Irish poet with over 80 poems published worldwide. His poems have been published in America, Canada, Ireland  and in the UK with Saccharine Poetry, Pink Plastic House, Full House Literary Magazine, Dream Journal, & Ephemeral Elegies.

A regular contributor to Poetry Ireland and Black Bough Poetry poetry prompts. UCD Library have a selection of his pandemic poems in their archives as a record of poems written during this period. He has recently been offered a two book publishing deal with the well known and respected publisher, Hedgehog Poetry Press.


 Robin McNamara's Dozen Answers, 

and some encouraging words in conclusion.


Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: Apricity. It’s a word I recently discovered whilst doing research into a poem. It’s used to describe the warmth from the sun during the winter months. A rare and hardly used word, first seen in 1623. Susie Dent of Countdown fame has championed its reappearance in the English language.

Q: What is your least favourite word?

A: Nothing comes to mind really. As a poet all words have a place. A least favourite word might be used in the context of a poem if it conveys a relevant message within the poem. 

Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


A: The underdog, those who create positivity in artistic ways in the face of adversity. As a working class poet I’m drawn to stories that inspire others in a creative way via film, music and writing. Creativity is a spiritual journey in life and can be therapeutic. 

Q: What turns you off? 

A: Sarcasm, Indifference and the lack of acknowledgement of talent just because that particular artist or writer doesn’t fit in to society’s defined expectations of how creativity should be expressed. Each artist/writer is unique and should be lauded for going against the grain. Picasso’s work is an example of how art can be exciting and so unique.

Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: Since I was young I’ve always liked the music of George Michael so Careless Whisper is my all time favourite. I was lucky enough to see him live in Dublin twice.

Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: This is a hard one as I’m a film buff and the history of Hollywood holds great interest to me. I have on DVD the early movies of Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest entertainers the world has seen. I love war movies like Saving Private Ryan and film biographies. I’m going to pick a movie I really want see again for now. Man on the Moon. A biopic on legendary comedian, Andy Kaufman played brilliantly by Jim Carrey. 

Q: What is your favourite curse word?

A: I’ll answer this In terms of incorporating the word Fuck into a poem. First used in poetic form in 1503 In a poem by William Dunbar. I’ve debated with other poets about the merits of swear words in poetry. No other word provokes a reaction more than Fuck. The most recent example is in a poem of mine, “Garden of Life”


..All grey and wrinkled—

(I’m still young inside, for fucks sake!)

Perhaps you believe in reincarnation?



Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: The sound of silence. I rediscovered this sound during the lockdown whilst writing my first collection (to be published soon) The silence outside in the back garden brought tranquility and a rediscovery of my inner self. No traffic, no airplanes, nothing but you and nature and your spiritual reawakening. It’s a beautiful sound which I miss very much. 

Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: The crap coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth. I don’t need to elaborate on this one!

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: Prior to lockdown last March I was writing a script for a musical based on a famous football team. I had a cast picked out, musical director,  a musical score and a cast, with a well known comedian in a lead role. Of course it didn’t leave base camp when the pandemic arrived. 

Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

Being a politician I couldn’t be lying to people everyday for a career. Selling my soul for a handful of votes and not having any worthwhile legacy to leave behind as a politician. 

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A: “You’re early go back, you still haven’t written your best poem yet.”

Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: I started to write more seriously in January this year having been published numerous times since January 2018. Join a writing class. You’ll be amazed at how it can inspire you. Forget about submitting work to literary sites in the early stages of your writing. Just focus on the poetry. Don’t force it, let it come naturally. Write everyday or at least five days a week. Write even if it’s  bad poetry because you are exercising your writing brain. When you are ready submit to small literary sites, baby steps at first. It helps grow your confidence. Never be discouraged by rejections, they help shape you as a writer. Read contemporary poetry to get a feel for poetic styles etc, be unique, be yourself. It takes perseverance, self-discipline and non-stop writing to get what you want. To be a published poet. Now I’ve got a two book publishing deal for a pamphlet and full collection. 


Thank you Robin for your dozen answers

and words of encouragement.  


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