Notts Author Richard Kish Opens Up on His New Poetry Book July

Photos: Richard Kish
Interview: Lizzy O'Riordan
Sunday 25 September 2022
reading time: min, words

Publishing his first novel Burning Ash after ten years in the writing, Richard Kish found himself stuck for inspiration, in large part because of his experiences with depression. So, in the hopes of a ‘creative boost’, Kish turned to poetry, making a vow to write a single piece every single day in July. Now published in a collection of the month’s name, we chat with the young writer about how the project came about, life with mental health struggles and the difference between prose and poetry…


Can you start by telling me about July and what inspired you to write it? 
July is a collection of poems that I wrote over the course of July this year. It began because I’d been struggling to make any progress on the novel I’m working on and needed a new creative outlet. Over the past year-and-a-half, my mental health has also been going through a bit of a rollercoaster and I found that poetry was quite helpful in getting feelings and thoughts out and down on the page, whether clarifying them or giving a sense of catharsis. So, since I wasn’t getting anywhere with my novel, I set myself a challenge to write a poem every single day for a month. 

Every day is quite a commitment. Did you struggle at all to maintain consistency? 
It was actually a lot easier than I was expecting, probably because I just went at it with an open mind, seeing what happened on any given day. Since poetry is usually a lot shorter and faster than prose, you can just condense everything into one given moment. In comparison to writing my novel, it was nice to not have to hit a word count. There was a lot more freedom to just let the words be themselves. 

I imagine that means you can be a lot more organic with your writing! 
In a way, yes. Because it was just a case of seeing what inspired me on any given day, whether rehearsing for a play I’m going to be in, adventures with my dog, or a world event that happened that day, I was always writing as something was happening. It made it easier to just write, rather than having to aim for consistency. 

Since poetry is usually a lot shorter and faster than prose, you can just condense everything into one given moment

The book is largely inspired by your experiences with depression. How was that to write about? 
I’ve always been very open about my mental health struggles, because even though the world has gotten a lot better at talking about mental health, there’s still a stigma. People don’t always understand how depression and anxiety can affect everyone so differently; pretty much everyone who meets me would not suspect that I have depression, because I’m always smiling and generally bouncy. But it’s always been a part of me and I’m happy to share that, which extends into my writing and poetry. And if it could help someone else clarify and understand their feelings, seek help if needed, or just know they’re not alone, then that would be great. 

In the past you’ve mainly written prose. Do you see yourself working on more poetry? 
I think so. Whether I put out another poetry collection or not is a different kettle of fish, but you never know! If July does well, I might. Or maybe I’ll just be in the mood to put another collection together and give myself that creative boost again. But even if I don’t, this experience has definitely made me pay more attention to metre, rhyme, and rhythm which hopefully will help with novel number two.

July is available on Amazon and through

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