Mr. Richard’s Award-Winning Parasite Kingdom

Photo by Mitchell Soileau

By Publications Class

Mr. Richard, who has taught Creative Writing at Lusher at both the middle- and high-school levels for the past 13 years, recently published his fourth collection of poetry, Parasite Kingdom.  

These poems, which won the 2018 Tenth Gate Prize from the Word Works, are set in an imaginary kingdom ruled by a pathetic tyrant whose nemesis is a mythically gigantic blue wasp who lives in a burrow beneath the palace.  

“My students from last year really helped with one of my favorite poems in the collection, ‘Economy,’” Richard said.  “I brought it in for them to critique three times, so they saw it through a lot of drafts.” 

Richard describes his first book of poetry, Habitations, as just a collection of lyric poems.  The second one, Motion Studies, is a post-Katrina book about art and disaster.  Butcher’s Sugar, his third book, was his LGBTQ book.  

“This fourth one is very dark, political fantasy,” Richard said.  “It was a fun book to write but also emotionally sometimes very difficult.  It took me 17 years.  The first poem that I wrote that became part of it was the first poem I was able to write after 9-11, and the Trump election spurred me to go in and finish.”

Mr. Richard, who has taught both at Lusher and previously at NOCCA for the past 28 years, also announced his retirement from teaching next year.  He will focus on his poetry and on fundraising for the regional affiliate of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with the goal of making the organization more of an educational resource for south Louisiana.  

Congratulations to Mr. Richard on his literary achievement and on his retirement.  Best wishes from the Lusher community!

Click here to purchase Parasite Kingdom.  Also available at Octavia Books.