I asked River of Fire what were the main themes in his new book of poems entitled The Fruit of the Tree. He answered that the main themes were love and unity. As these are not themes which I utilize in my own works, I am always interested to know how other artists are able to. My curiosity compelled me to ask why he had chosen those particular themes. River said “if you love someone, you are one with them, and that is unity.”
River also said that love is the number one thing which inspires him to write, and that most of his writings about love are inspired by women. He explained that each poem has a name at the bottom. The names at the bottom are the persons who asked him to write the poem. Love, Love, Love for example has the name Patricia. River said that though the poem is about a romantic relationship he never had a relationship with Patricia. He said that Patricia had asked him to write a poem about love after she read a poem that he had written about her name. Another poem he mentioned was Kissing You which is signed 2003, River of Fire, Tina.
He quickly added “I never kissed Tina but she told me to write this.” River of Fire says that everything has been done before; he creates nothing new. River also explained that he is inspired by everything and everyone he sees. River of Fire says that his writing process is simple “I write about something or someone I’m inspired by and once I write it I don’t edit it. I present it just as it is. So really it is not just my message but also the message of the person who has inspired it.”
Still wanting to know more about why he has chosen to write primarily about love and unity, I asked him to elaborate. River replied: “as a writer I have always written with a positive message. In society today there is a lot of division, the objective of my poetry is to show similarities and unify us.”
River of Fire confessed that he has had no formal literary training. Still, he would not consider himself self-taught. He explains that his style is mainly acrostic which he believes is unique to Belize and to the world. He further explained “I do not sit down to create or invent anything; I simply take from my environment…Even the stuff from 20 years ago has been published as is, without being edited.
To end the interview River read from the poem Life which was written in 1982 when he was only sixteen years old.
“Who is human, man, child or woman
We are what’s proven, why are we not moving
We are like the stars, Venus or Mars
We continue to scar, our children in unnecessary wars
We are the thought that counts, in different amounts
We’ve discovered and fount, yet continue to discount”
As I listened to the words of a sixteen year old voice as read by this artist, I asked him what he would recommend to young poets to which he said simply “write what your heart tells you to write.”
The Fruit of the Tree which was published in February of this year is available for sale from the artist for twenty dollars. The book is also available at Daker’s Bookstore (Belmopan), CY’s Music, Tambran Music, King’s Music and Sun Digital Photo, Maya Jade and the National Handicraft Center, Radisson Hotel and Marina’s gift shop (Belize City), Seaside Cabanas and Cayeboard Connection (Caye Caulker), Integrated Business Systems, Ramirez Stationery and Bra Lou Detailing (Dangriga) and the Belize’s Zoo gift shop.