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Richard Corey, The Twisted Muse

By James Hoyle
On December 1, 2015

Richard Corey and his book, the Twisted Muse. 
Photo by James Hoyle

Concord University once again played host to alumnus Richard Corey on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the J. Frank Marsh Library. Corey, author of an anthology of poems and songs called The Twisted Muse, read to his audience from about 7:00 P.M to 8:00 P.M. 

Corey was a Concord University student, and originally came to Concord in 1994. “I flunked out,” he recollected while reading his poems, “I flunked out my first year. I joined a fraternity, and you know, I thought it was like the way that high school was. I thought that as long as I passed my tests and got good grades, everything would be fine. When midterms came around, I had all Fs, despite getting As on all my tests. I just didn’t go to class. Second semester, I was active after I pledged my fraternity, so I just stayed drunk, and decided that college wasn’t for me. And I left.“ 

Corey would work in many different locations across the country. While working in Tennessee, he was committed to a mental hospital, where was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “I thought I was there overnight, but I was really there for about two weeks,” he said, “They only let me out on the condition that I would leave Tennessee and go fishing with my Dad and nothing else.” He would continue working odd jobs for money at various places until he eventually came back to Concord University in the spring semester of 2003. He paid his way through college by performing music at various functions. He would eventually graduate Concord University with two Bachelor’s Degrees (one in Communications and one in Theater) in 2007. 

Corey recalls that he first took an interest in English in his sophomore year of high school, where his teacher at the time requested that his class do a writing assignment. From there, Corey found his way into writing poems and songs. He found the poem and song writing process much easier than writing prose. To that end, The Twisted Muse, his book published in 2014, is a very heartfelt look into the struggles and hardships he has had to face in his life. Tales of alcohol, lost love, bouts of mental illness, and questions of faith in a benevolent God are all addressed within the book’s pages. The book is divided into two major halves: one half poems, the other half songs. In the book, it is stated that because of his bipolar disorder, the sides of his personality are able to come out in such a way that allows him to be inspired. Hence the title of the collection, The Twisted Muse

When asked about the process of getting published, Corey stated that it was, in a word, “Frustrating…”

There are many poems and songs in the book dating all the way back to the 1980s, and getting all of them in order was no small feat. “During a reading, someone asked about a poem, and I realized that it wasn’t in the book,” he said, “So I had to start the process all over again. I had to fight with the publishers. Some things turned out the way I wanted them to, and some of it did not. Picking the right cover, picking the right things to say inside the book flap about me, and it’s kind of hard to get in front of you guys and read. But yeah, getting them onboard with what I wanted was difficult.” He also said that the editing process was difficult. Despite this, he is pleased with how the book turned out. When asked what he would say to aspiring writers, he said to not be afraid to look inside oneself, and to not be afraid of what is found. The Twisted Muse is available online at in hardback, paperback, and Kindle versions. 

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