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INTERVIEW NO. 3 WITH RON PRICE
This is the third interview in the year 1996 with the Australian-Canadian poet Ron Price. This interview continues to explore some of the same questions, examine similar issues and talk about poetry, reading and writing as the first two interviews did earlier in 1996. He has also added material in the years after 1996 and up to 2012.
Questioner(Q): We have talked before about your first poem, or poems. Could you tell us more about how you got started in the poetry business?
Price(P): The first poem I wrote and kept in my files was two to three months after I started taking lithium carbonate, a mood stabilizer, for my bipolar 1 disorder. I wrote some forty poems in the six years: 1981 to 1987 and another one hundred and thirty from 1988 to 1991. I have come to see this period of some 11 years as my ‘first poems’. There was an emotional stability in my life that I had not had before as a young adult or middle-aged man, indeed, since I was in my mid-teens, since about 1959. I have talked about lithium before and I don’t want to belabor the point here, but I think it has been crucial to my balance and well-being. In the ‘80s I had several some major battle-zones in my life: in my employment, and in my fight for compliance on the medication. I worked in Zeehan, Tasmania; Katherine, Northern Territory; Port Headland and Perth in Western Australia--all in the same decade. In addition, my wife was sick much of the time in that decade---and on and on goes the litany of troubles. I think this zone of troubles kept my production limited, although I did write many essays.