Robert Horton was born and raised in Springfield Illinois. During his childhood, he was inspired to write poetry by his older brother Fred, who also loved to write poetry. His passion for the art of poetry continued throughout his adolescence and into his adult life. Poetry has always been a way for Robert to express his inner most thoughts and feelings. Robert endeavors to write poetry in ways that will inspire, motivate, encourage and uplift people. Many have been blessed by the gift that God has given him.
Robert has successfully authored three books of poetry titled, Released: Inspired Poetic Messages (2015), Miscellaneous Pieces (2016), and FAME (2020). He is currently working on his forthcoming book of poetry titled, Black Rage and Responsible Revolution. Robert has had the opportunity to share his poetry in churches, where he has been a guest speaker, and has had the pleasure of attending book fairs and other community outlets. Robert has been blessed to have his poetry books in the Springfield public library as well as the Illinois State library.
Robert received an Associate’s degree in elementary education from Lincoln Land Community College in 2004 and has worked in the Springfield Public Schools. He received his Bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Illinois Springfield in 2012. Robert is a devout family man and has been married to his wife Deann for 26 years. Together they have raised five children of which 4 are now grown. Robert also has other creative projects in the works which include an upcoming children’s book and a novel.
If you are interested in purchasing books or booking Robert for poetry readings, please visit his website at www.damoodypoet.com with your name, address and type of event. All requests receive a 24 hour response.
VERSAFI MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author began?
ROBERT HORTON: My journey as an author truly began in December of 2014 after a beloved friend of mine, John James (aka, JJ) asked me when my book was going to be published (this was a question that he had been asking me for several years). It was the same night that Dr. Cornel West gave me a personal word about my poetry when he came to Springfield, IL to be the keynote speaker for the Springfield Urban League Annual Dinner. After hearing Dr. West words, coupled with the question that JJ posed to me, I knew I couldn’t run from it anymore and that it was time to publish my book. And four months later, I became a published author.
VERSAFI: It’s great when you have someone who wants you to succeed in life. He gave you a lot of great wisdom advice to start publishing your book. Was becoming a writer something you always wanted to pursue?
ROBERT: I never wanted to become a writer. In fact, I didn’t even know that I could write poems. Writing poems just grew out the struggle of simply trying to navigate life.
VERSAFI: I think that’s the best thing to know that you can write poetry based out of personal experiences. That’s a blessing in disguise. Everyone has someone or something that motivated or motivates them. Who motivated you?
ROBERT: My older brother Fred is the person who motivated me. He is the original poet. I used to watch him write poems when we were kids. And the memory of seeing him constantly writing poems stayed with me as I grew up. Subsequently, I took after him. In fact, I dedicated my second book of poetry, Miscellaneous Pieces to him as a way of paying homage.
VERSAFI: Awesome! You got that big bro vibes! LOL. So what inspired you to write your first book?
ROBERT: The inspiration for writing my first book was the fact that my poems had been building up for quite some time. In fact, my first book Released spans 3 decades. I started writing poems that would eventually go into Released while I was in my 20’s. And so over the years, the poems just kept piling up. I always thought about putting them in a book, but I never thought that I would be able to do so. But after meeting with and talking with Dr. West (and after JJ’s question), I knew it was time to for me to embrace my passion, give it energy and redeem the time.
VERSAFI: When you know you have a talent or a passion about something, our inner voice tells us to do something about it. Let’s talk about your new book, can you tell us more about your new book FAME.
ROBERT: FAME is an inspirational book of poetry like my other two books. It is a book that I dedicated to my daughter Amaiya and to the great city of Chicago. In FAME, I tried to poetically articulate the pain that is ravaging certain parts of the city of Chicago and to offer hope and healing. The running theme in FAME is the highs and lows of everyday life, wisdom (spiritual insight), hope, inspiration, and the celebration (and remembrance) of others.
VERSAFI: That’s really deep! So with having three books published, how does it feel to be a published author?
ROBERT: Being a published author is a tremendous blessing and an amazing feeling. Having poems that I wrote in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s to finally be published in my first book of poetry is indescribable. And then to have a follow up book of poetry two years later (that I had the privilege of dedicating to my brother) who is my hero and the person who taught me poetry was another tremendous blessing. And on top of that, to have a 3rd book of poetry, 3 years after my second book was released, is more than what I could have ever imagine. It is truly unbelievable. I’m very thankful, grateful, and truly appreciative.
VERSAFI: It’s always amazing when you are an author and you publish your first book, then second, then third, and by then it becomes a part of your writing journey. Since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
ROBERT: The challenges that I have experienced is finding the time to do more events to market and sell my books.
VERSAFI:I think a lot of authors struggle with the marketing piece for their books. And yes it is very time consuming to find the time to actually promote your own work. Most people as well hire someone who promote books to do the work for them if they don’t really have the time. With that being said what genre do you write on?
ROBERT: The genre that I write on is inspirational poetry.
VERSAFI: Poetry is always expanding and it is very interesting to read other people’s poems. Now what message do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?
ROBERT: The message that I want my readers to take away is that there is hope for the living, that God has not forsaken us and that faith, prayer, and poetic lines is what it’s going to take to get us through these perilous times.
VERSAFI: Well said! What does being an author mean to you?
ROBERT: Being an author means the world to me because it’s something that I didn’t even think that I was capable of doing. It just confirms to me that dreams do come true. Because you really don’t know what you’re capable of doing (or becoming) until you truly apply yourself.
VERSAFI: When you discover that you have a special talent, dreams will definitely come true. So tell the readers where do you see yourself five years from now?
ROBERT: Five years from now I see myself owning my own business, having 2 children’s books published along with my 4th book of poetry.
VERSAFI: Congrats on your vision and goals! being an entrepreneur is something to cherish forever. So now that you have published all these books and you are very passionate about it, have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
ROBERT: Yes I have. Being an author full time does cross my mind from time to time. Writing poems comes natural to me and I enjoy it (it’s a labor of love). But right now it’s not something that I could commit to doing full time.
VERSAFI: Being a full-time author is a lot of work and commitment. But with with the focused mind and dedication, it can be done. Tell us about your marketing strategies as an author.
ROBERT: My marketing strategies are social media. Mainly Facebook and my website.
VERSAFI: Social media is an awesome tool for marketing and promoting books. Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
ROBERT: Yes I do find it challenging at times trying to promote my books because promoting is a job in of itself. And like any job, you have to put in that work in order to get things done. And that’s my struggle right now, making the time to promote my work with everything else that I have going on in my life right now.
VERSAFI: You definitely hit the nail right on the head! Promoting books is a job itself and you have to put in the work and finding the right time to do so. I want to thank you for sitting down and talking with Versafi Magazine about your journey as an author and your newly released book FAME. Tell us how can readers connect with you and support you?
ROBERT: To support, readers can go to my website at: www.damoodypoet.com or cash app $damoodypoet.