Featured Fig: Rich Larson

A huge, roof-raising round of applause for our very own Rich Larson: 19-year-old Canadian, juggler, aspiring translator, and–best of all–a published poet! How’s that for your daily dose of inspiration?

Click here to read his poems, which are published in YARN’s literary magazine, and click here to read many of his poems on Figment. Rich’s novel “Devolution” was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and his work appears (or is forthcoming) in Word Riot, Prick of the Spindle, and The Claremont Review. Scroll down to read one of Rich’s poems and Figment’s interview with him!

Have publishing aspirations of your own? Click here to submit to YARN! In the words of Rich Larson himself, “submit, submit, submit.”

Gravitationalby Rich Larson
Every time you shut your eyes, it’s a sin
You rob the world blind
Dropping a sooty curtain over
Distant dancing planetoids
So unearthly astronauts could not
Not in a thousand light-years
Ever touch them
But with such a pull that I always sink
Into your soft gravity well
And become their satellite

How did you first get into Figment?

When I started working on a YA manuscript, I decided it would be a good idea to get input from the target audience. Figment has a very active community and was a great fit.

So, you’re getting your poems published in YARN’s literary magazine (congrats, by the way!). How does it feel? Any advice for other Figs looking to get published?

It’s a great feeling, and it makes the occasionally exhausting process worth it. My main advice is to get feedback from fellow writers, pay close attention to publisher guidelines, and have a thick skin. Then submit, submit, submit until someone bites.

We hear you can juggle. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever juggled (or considered juggling)?

Five-pin bowling balls, dropped the last one.

On your Figment profile, you say that, “When you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your house, you can either give up or get going on the ceiling.” How do you stay positive in the face of rejection (and have you ever actually pasted them on your walls/ceiling?)

For environmental reasons, I don’t print out my rejection letters. =P

You just have to remember that those “(insert famous author) had to go to (insert big number) publishers before (insert renowned work) was accepted” stories are true. For every acceptance I get there are probably ten to fifteen rejections.

You say you are a former writer of cyberpunk and speculative fiction—how does your approach to writing differ when you’re writing poetry?

Less planning, more feeling.

Which poets, if any, inspire your writing, and which of your own works are you most proud of?

Unfortunately, I’m a real philistine where poetry is concerned. Ern Malley? =P

As for my own work, I’m still really fond of “The Blank Slate,” which went up on Word Riot a few months back.

In your opinion, what constitutes a good and helpful critique, and have you received any that have helped you significantly?

Solid critiques are not usually nice critiques. Luckily I have some very honest and talented people who give me feedback on a regular basis. If a story is not working, whether because the characters are flat, the plot is weak, or the idea is just plain bad, they have no qualms in letting me know.

Can you describe the process of having your work professionally edited?

In my (limited) experience, it’s been painless. The changes are usually small and always an improvement. Hopefully there are more experiences with professional editing in my future. =P

What makes Figment Figment? Well, there are forums and blog posts and writing groups and featured books. But what really makes this place special are all of you Figs. So you should get some love.

Know a Fig who should be featured here? Tell us about him or her. Interviews may be edited and condensed.

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