The Davidsonian

Inside Blurred Years: An Interview with Ridley Browder ’24


Cover of Ridley Browder’s new book of poetry Blurred Years. Photo credit: Ridley Browder.

Katherine Marshall ’26 (she/her)

Ridley Browder ‘24 (he/him) recently sat down to talk about his new book of poetry Blurred Years, which was inspired by the years between 18 and 21 which are typically referred to as landmark years, while the ones in the middle are often overlooked. 

Katherine Marshall: Why do you write poetry?

Ridley Browder: I’m interested in writing poetry because it’s a way that I express my experiences through life. It’s also really fun to write about other people’s stories and to write about different perspectives in any given situation or story or experience. 

KM: Has poetry always been a part of your life? 

RB: To be honest, it came out of COVID. I got bored, and I just started writing. I can use language as a way to showcase the emotion that a person is trying to express. So, I write it in poetry format, and I find that to be really fun and fulfilling.

KM: How was the process of writing your book? How did it come together?

RB: To be honest, I never planned on sharing my poetry. I just got to thinking one day about how artists put their work out as a way to connect with their readers. And I thought that if I shared these stories with people, maybe they could relate to them in a way that would help them understand what they’re going through, and they can interpret it in their own way. The idea came when I was in London while I was in the whole aesthetic of cafe and bookstore culture of London. I was like, “you know what, I have time while I’m traveling; I might as well write some more.” 

KM: Why title the collection Blurred Years?

RB: I think it has two meanings for me. There are two different perspectives looking at these moments in your life. The first is when you’re in it. At the moment, it feels like it’s just happening so quickly. It’s kind of like this blur. And then, when you’re older and you look back on it, you’re like, I forgot that even happened. Or you’re like, that had such a huge impact on me, but it just feels like so long ago. It happened in a blur. 

KM: Did you have any hesitation discussing vulnerable topics in your poetry?

RB: I did. Most of these are personal stories. These are experiences I’ve gone through, feelings I’ve felt and feelings that other people have felt and have expressed to me, and I’ve turned them into this writing that I’ve shared. I’ve opened this window into my life. That’s really overwhelming, and it can be a little stressful at times to know that I did that. There are pros and cons, but I think I feel it’s pretty cool to be able to share something that other people can connect with, even if it’s vulnerable. 

KM: What does the poetry writing process look like for you?

RB: Sometimes I will sit down, and it just comes out. Other times, I want to write a short story, or I will go back and look at my journals. I’ll turn that into some type of poem or story.

KM: What was the purpose of presenting nature scenes as a theme throughout your poems?

RB: I think a lot of it comes from traveling. I like to think of myself as kind of a big romantic, using settings and imagery to showcase emotions and what a person may be going through. I do use a lot of imagery. To me, those are really beautiful settings to show.

KM: Is poetry something that you feel is going to be a part of your life for a long time? Specifically, do you see yourself putting together another book?

RB: I hope so. I mean, I’m still writing. It’s a big coping mechanism, and, as I’m growing older, I have these new perspectives on things. Sometimes, I’m like, “oh, that was stupid.” I’m always writing. I’m always reflecting and thinking about new ways to perceive things. Hopefully, I’ll have another book one day with new ideas and new perspectives to share. And, especially with the feedback I’ve gotten, I hope to make that happen.

KM: But do you have any advice for anyone who is working on poetry, writing, or publishing?

RB: Just express what you’re feeling in the moment. Start with how you’re feeling and then work from there. I’ll start with an emotion, and then I’ll think of a way to describe that emotion. For publishing, I self published through Kindle Direct Publishing, which is an Amazon platform, and that’s pretty easy. You just have to have a manuscript and then they actually have a tool where you can make your own cover. The biggest piece of advice I have is if you’re thinking about publishing, just go for it. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ve already failed.

KM: What’s special about these four poems in the preview?

RB: Ah, the ones I sent you are very good at encapsulating what the whole book involves. There are themes of growing older, of romance, of a broken heart, of moving away from home to college, being in this weird transition era of your life going from being a kid to being an adult. I have no idea what that looks like. You’re still going through all these very big life moments, but your mind is still changing, and you’re still growing up. And I think that’s kind of the message of the book.

Katherine Marshall ‘26 (she/her) is from Atlanta, GA and can be reached for comment at kamarshall@davidson.edu.

Blurred Years by Ridley Browder can be found on Amazon. He can be reached for comment at ribrowder@davidson.edu.

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