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Living a Creative Life

Artistic expression has always been a part of Robert’s life. He has been writing for as long as he can remember and is an award-winning, published poet. Even now, Robert continues to write and publish. Just recently, he has begun to explore other avenues of expression through painting.

“I have always loved the arts,” he says. “It makes me feel enlightened.”

Robert has lived a very creative life. He was raised in Philadelphia. In his early twenties, he came to Canada as a draft dodger during the Vietnam war and ended up making this country his home. He married and has a daughter who lives in Europe. No matter where Robert has lived, he has been connected to the arts scene. He has met famous beat poets like William S. Burroughs, with whom he corresponded for several years. He has worked as an art critic and in the 1980s, he worked as an art therapist at Eagle Springs Pinegrove, Pennsylvania, a job about which he still speaks with fondness.

Since May of this year, Robert has lived in a home in Chilliwack that is facilitated by Communitas Supportive Care Society. The home is managed by Barbara Rusu. Barb says that the move to Chilliwack was challenging for Robert, given that he lived in New Westminster for nearly two decades. The arts have been a way for him to engage with others and express himself.

the walls of Robert’s room are covered with his artwork

“Robert is a very talented writer and artist,” she says. “He is passionate about art and poetry and his face lights up when he tells stories from his past.”

Robert first published in 1972 and continues to publish his work today. In 2011, he won fourth prize in the Poetry Institute of Canada’s National Poetry Contest. Last year, his poem Temporarily was published in the anthology Island Shores.

“I’m always submitting my work and looking for opportunities to publish,” he says, adding that he is currently working on a children’s story.

Barb and her staff are hoping to connect him with fellow artists and writers in the community. It is one way that they are working at helping Robert to adjust to a new place and to feel valued, supported, and loved.

“I appreciate Robert for his gentleness and thoughtfulness,” she says. “He expresses himself so well through his art and poetry. We hope we can continue to foster that and make some introductions for him in the months to come.”


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