Robert Overkamp

  • Robert Overkamp, Associate Registrar at BeatriceRobertOverkamp_web

    As Associate Registrar on the Beatrice Campus, Robert Overkamp has his hands full. But when Illuminations put out a call for good poetry, he was on it–and the result was the publication of his five haikus in the Vol. 16 edition. Robert talks with us about the whole shebang.

    Illuminations: Salutations, Robert! What makes the haiku a favorite poetic form for you?

    Robert: I enjoy the challenge of condensing content into the 5-7-5 pattern. The short poetic form of the haiku forces me to find a balance between compactness and expression.

    I: A noble pursuit! Do you write any other types of poetry? Do you do any other sorts of writing?

    R: Other types of poetry I enjoy are Centos (composed by borrowing snippets from other poems/poets) and Clerihews (playful, four-line biographical poems). No, no other forms of writing for me. When crafting poetry, I enjoy the creative process whereas other forms stress me out too much. For example, I once tried my hand at a screenplay. While I was very happy with the initial plot, the character creation bogged me down, and so I gave up. Poetry, on the other hand, cheers and emboldens my spirit.

    I: You can’t ask for more than that. You’re the Associate Registrar on the Beatrice campus. How have you seen Illuminations influence your campus?

    R: Illuminations contains the creative expression of our students, faculty, and staff, and folks genuinely anticipate the release of each volume. I hear many people positively comment on the diversity of material and voice. Between the fantastic quality/layout & contributor content, I think readers not only appreciate the content but also find encouragement to develop their own artistic and literary identities.

    I: That’s good to hear, Robert! In your Vol. 16 bio, you say that you enjoy “attending Renaissance Faires, flying power kites, longboarding, traveling, and balancing rocks.” Such a variety of activities! How did you become such a “Renaissance Man” yourself?

    R: The world is full of wonderful things, and life is brief. So why not try new hobbies? For example, anyone with some patience can learn to balance rocks artistically. Just Google "Michael Grab" and be inspired by his spectacular work.

    I: Will do! Are there any poets or other writers that you particularly admire? What do you enjoy reading and why?

    R: I enjoy the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, GK Chesterton, and Siegfried Sassoon. As to reading, I love a good pirate tale or a long fantasy quest. Lately, I find myself being drawn back to books I read when I was young—books like the early Shannara series by Terry Brooks or the fantasy trilogy by Lyndon Hardy.

    I: Great selections, Robert! And finally, the silly question of the day: Which song would you sing on Karaoke night and why?

    R: Now that is a tough one! I mean it all I focus solely on lyrics? Or instead pick something with massive air guitar potential? There's too much awesome material out there and I can't decide. And so:

    Please hand me the mic

    and I’ll sing until I drop -

    Karaoke Star!

    I: Hah! You rock, Robert!


    by Robert Overkamp

    Dingy plastic bag,
    swept up by a gust of wind,
    snagged by two branches.

    Voracious hunger;
    literary consumption;
    summertime bookworms.

    One plus one is two,
    and two plus two equals four—
    to Infinity.

    You say Po-tato.
    (Does it really matter much?)
    I say Pot-ato.

    I place three large stones,
    each one upon the other,
    perfectly balanced.

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