Dublin poet and journalist, Rob Buchanan is a regular columnist on The Outmost. His debut poetry collection charts his experiences growing up in Blanchardstown, coming out in a macho world, the loss of his father, and fantasy dates with legendary bisexual Irish writers, among other things.
One of the winners of 2015 Poetry Ireland Introductions series, Rob Buchanan has also been published in a number of poetry journals and magazines including The Stinging Fly. He performs his work at poetry nights across the country.
A lot of the poems in my first collection are about growing up bent in Blanchardstown. I was in complete terror about coming out because I hang around with some lads who have fairly heavy Blanchardstown connections, and I was worried that it might compromise them. But I had nothing but beautiful responses. I had lads who I’d never seen upset crying in my arms, saying ‘We didn’t realise’. It opened the floodgates about a lot of things. I was surprised, but I shouldn’t have been.
Blanchardstown village would be perceived as a dodgy place, but I can walk down the street holding hands with a guy. I’ve never had a single homophobic remark.
My father wrote poetry. He was a trade union leader, a staunch patriot and a very liberal and progressive man. He was my best friend, a great confidant, and we did everything together. When he got sick with cancer, I was the one who looked after him. There are a lot of poems in my book about him.
I won a couple of awards in secondary school for writing, and when I went to college one of the things I did, apart from ridiculous amounts of sex and drugs, was to write a play called Beds. It was based on the concept that most of the important things in our lives are done in beds. We are born in a bed, we fuck in a bed, and if we’re lucky we die in a bed. I won an award in Draiocht in Blanchardstown and I got to have one of the acts put on. It felt like I wasn’t messing around, that I was writing.
Poetry is my real love; I’m obsessed with it. I started going the open mic. nights in town and one night I was totally pissed in the International Bar, and my mate, Lambo dared me to get up and ‘do a poem’. I got up and did it, and the world didn’t end, and I got a free drink out of it.
Keep reading to find out about the kind of poetry Rob believes we need, fantasy dates, hate mail he receives, and poetry about riding married men in carparks.