BookView Interview with Author Robert A. Cozzi

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we talked to Robert A. Cozzi, the award-winning author of five published poetry volumes and was a featured poet three times over in The World Poetry Movement’s publications, including “The Best Poems and Poets of 2011.” He has contributed to anthologies and publications, his latest being Perspective to Pen: An Anthology (read the review here).

Award-winning poet Robert A. Cozzi continues to dazzle his international following with poetry and prose that tantalize all five senses and leave the reader wanting more. In addition to five published poetry volumes and inclusion in anthologies and publications, the New Jersey-based writer also shares daily creations and livestreams on Instagram.

Educated at James Madison University and New York University, Cozzi shares valuable mentorship with new writers around the globe. He was also the creative force behind assembling the anthology, “Perspective to Pen.”

Cozzi is also featured in the poetry anthology “Social Distances” (2020, Scissortail Press) and was a featured poet three times over in The World Poetry Movement’s publications, including “The Best Poems and Poets of 2011.”

Also by Robert A. Cozzi:

tide pool of words (2013, Beach Umbrella Publishing)

Handful of Memories (2014, Beach Umbrella Publishing)

Blanket of Hearts (2016, Beach Umbrella Publishing)

Sky of Dreams (2018, Beach Umbrella Publishing)

kaleidoscope of colors (2019, Beach Umbrella Publishing)

For more, visit RobertCozziAuthor.com, on Instagram @RobertCozziAuthor, and on Twitter @RobertACozzi1

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When my mom and dad began reading me the original Winnie the Pooh books. At a young age I realized how words has the power to transport us to other places and I became very aware of my imagination and the power of creativity. Later, in 5th grade I won a creative writing award for a short story I wrote about a futuristic society. I remember feeling great that I had created a world that the reader could visit. That is when I knew I could write.

How often do you base your characters on real people?

In my poetry and short stories, I always write from real experiences, so the characters must be real people. I have never written a fictional character.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have a novel I am working on about the best friend that I lost in 1997 at the age of 28. I have a new direction I am heading in with this novel now, though, so things should progress quickly now.

What does literary success look like to you?

When readers connect and let you know that your work has affected them. I have always had an intimate relationship with my readers, and I love that. I am honest with them and they are honest with me. It is a special bond that we share.

Do you find writing therapeutic?

Absolutely. I write every day in a journal and I cannot imagine not having that as an outlet for my emotions.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing a novel?

I just began writing my first novel, but for me the hardest part was defining how the novel should look and how to tell the story. I am writing about real people and real experiences, so the bulk of the book is already written since I don’t have to create characters or write storylines, but now that I know how I want to present it all, the hard part is done.

How many hours a day do you write?

Usually about two hours a day. Sometimes more. It just depends. I always write in my journal before I go to bed. Most of what I write is done in one sitting.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me and makes me feel accomplished.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Sometimes, writers are afraid to be authentic and fall into the trap of writing about things they do not know very much about because they are trying too hard to be popular. I am also not a fan of writing prompts because these steer writers too far away from writing their own stories.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I personally think you have to ego down to be a good writer otherwise your ego will get in the way.

How often you read?

I read every day. I believe that avid readers make better writers.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I am original. Honesty in writing is huge for me so I cannot write any other way.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I don’t think so because you have to have a certain level of emotional intelligence to write.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Start sharing your work! I was in my 50’s before I shared anything I had written.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It made me more focused on writing poetry consistently every day.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I buy expensive, well-made journals that will last for years and years. I have kept a journal since I was 14 years old and I want them all to outlive me, so they must be high quality and sturdy.

Do you read your book reviews? Do they please you or annoy you? Do you think you can learn a lot from reading criticism about your work?

Yes. I read all my reviews and I dissect every line of them because I want to learn and keep improving. I believe that the moment you stop improving is the moment you should retire.

What are your favorite books?

“On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous,” by Ocean Vuong, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” by Benjamin Alire Suarez, and “On the Road,’ by Jack Kerouac

What is your favorite childhood book?

The Winnie the Pooh books

After the writing’s finished, how do you judge the quality of your work?

I read it out loud to myself and if I like what I hear, then I know it is done.

Were your parents interested in literature? Did they read a lot? What books did you have in the house?

Yes, I grew up in a family of avid readers. Books were everywhere growing up and we went to the library regularly. My mom loved E.B. White and Anne Sexton, my dad read all the sports books and the books my mom recommended to him, but there are too many authors and titles to mention.

What in particular attracted you to this genre?

I love poetry because I get to share my personal experiences with the reader

Would you rather read a book or watch television?

I would rather read. I don’t watch much television.

How different was your life one year ago?

It is vastly different. I lost my hotel management job at the beginning of COVID, and the best thing that 2020 gave me was the gift of time. Suddenly, I had so much time to write, so I dove head first into this creative zone and now I can never go back.

Tell us some more about your book.

I had the idea of assembling an anthology after connecting with so many other poets on Instagram. It was 2020 and I thought it would be good to give the readers a book that could help them escape from the world for a bit.

What inspired the premise of your book?

It was inspired from a comment from a reader while I was doing an Instagram Live session with fellow Perspective to Pen poet, Anthony James Rivera.

What makes this book important right now?

Much of the poetry is current and reflects on what we are all going through right now amid this pandemic.

How did you decide on this title?

It was written during one of our zoom calls when all 12 poets were brainstorming. We love the word perspective since this is an anthology and each one of us has a different perspective.

What’s next for you?

I will be releasing my sixth book of poetry, “kaleidoscope of colors: Volume two.

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