Richard Westall was born in Southampton’s fair city, in 1952 (or so the rumour goes).
It is fair to say that no other member of his (immediate) family was literary, in any way.
Maybe the gift was inherited from someone way back. Who knows?
What is known is that –from an early age – Richard was interested in committing his thoughts onto paper.
He remembers possessing an archaic Remington typewriter (circa 1920’s),on which trusty machine he hacked out some embryonic works (long since forgotten).
His family moved to Newbury and while still at his Secondary School, he took up the poetic challenge.
A great source of early inspiration was the later lyrics, of the Beatles, particularly “Eleanor Rigby”,especially the line ‘Wearing her face which she kept in a jar by the door’.
This really ‘blew his mind’ and was the initial impetus for what was to follow.
At Newbury College, in 1968 & 1969, he composed the pieces “Song of the Ceiling” & “V.et.Nam”.
On entering work, poetry took a back seat, for a few years.
However, on attending a night-class towards an English Literature (‘O’ level) exam in 1971,his passion was re-ignited and writing resumed.
The first substantial piece achieving fruition was ‘Some Hunt’.
This poem, inspired (indirectly) by the death of his father,is featured in his currently available collection “Soft Bombs” which was published in 2000.
Since writing ‘Some Hunt’, in 1975, Richard has written around 300 poems.
Although he has since evolved his own style, which veers between the abstract and the more accessible,his earliest inspiration came from other poets.
In particular, T.S. Eliot & Dylan Thomas were the most influential. Eliot, for his terse lyrical styleand Thomas for his lush Romantic intensity.
Even though their influences have long since faded,Richard (who considers himself a Romantic Poet) still admires their work.
Another inspiration was Stephen Spender also encountered at night-class.
Spender, a committed left-wing writer, was not afraid to engage with Society’s problems and this influence stayed with Richard.
This is evident in such poems as ‘Tsunami’ (1995) which expresses thoughts on Japan’s cataclysmic Kobe earthquake.
Richard has also
composed many nature poems inspired by the beautiful Berkshire landscape.
The sea, in all its moods, is another frequent subject, no doubt the legacy of his Southampton childhood.
Richard has always been keen to experiment with his poetry ranging from full-blown Western rhyme, to syllabic verse, including the 3-line Japanese haiku.
Since the turn of the Millennium, Richard has been involved with the West Berkshire Community Music Organisation ‘Circle of Sound’ and its offshoot ‘Time Spanner Projects’ who have commissioned poetry from him on a regular basis since 2000.
Through this involvement, he has developed his writing further and has brought a performance element into his work reciting his poetry live, unaccompanied or set to music.
He has appeared live on numerous occasions at art centres, public community events and festivals as well as collaborating with David Jackson (ex Van Der Graaf Generator) on CD.
He has also performed live on radio and television.
He is currently collaborating with film-maker Roger Pugh and musician Mark T. on a set of three ‘You Tube’ poems especially created for multi-media access via the internet.
The first of these ‘Some Hunt’ can be viewed on the movies section of this site.