Interview: Jeff Boire

It’s not often that I get to interview another poetry lover, so I was thrilled to be able to talk to Jeff Boire. One of the exciting things in writing for different sites and publications is learning about new writers. We all come to writing with a different experience and different backgrounds, and yet it’s interesting how people who seemingly have nothing in common on the surface can connect over writing, or in this case, poetry.

Enjoy this interview.

How did you first discover that you loved poetry?

I cannot recall any interest in poetry nor exposure as a child, I was involved in sports and dirt-biking growing up. It all started in a business literature class in August of 2007. One of our books was, The Art Of Work : An Anthology of Workplace Literature by Christine LaRocco and James Coughlin, a compilation of short stories, non-fiction, and poetry. We analyzed the poetry in class and the professor indicated off the cuff that my insight used for my evaluation was remarkable. I didn’t think too much of the comment at the time. In fact, nearly two years would elapse before I had attempted to write my first poem. Lacking recollection, sometime during or after the class while conducting research I stumbled upon The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I consider this work to have caused the paradigm shift in my thinking and appreciation for the written word. How powerful could a simple collection of words draw such intellectual pleasure and a confusing emotional reaction simultaneously? How parallel were the words with how I had navigated life? How meaningful the message as to the importance of making one’s own choices and maintaining the fortitude to continue forward? The connection was overwhelming at the time. So much so, a picture could not even describe.

Which poets were you first drawn to?

Robert Frost, of course, captivated my attention to the point I read his work often. My favorite quote from Mr. Frost is “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

I believe in that statement completely. Some of my work causes a strong personal reaction personally and I believe these may have some kind of effect on those who read the poems. My other favorite is Dr. Jonathan Swift.

The good Dr. was a remarkable poet with tremendous command of the language at the time who often is telling stories, perhaps multiple stories within his work. My favorite line from To a Lady is “Thus we both shall gain our prize; I to laugh, and you grow wise”. I was frustrated with my fiancé one day because of something she said, which is personified in the poem. My reply was to show her the poem. Amazingly she understood where I was
coming from. I tend to be on the serious side so the last line helps me to understand her growth and my need to laugh at things. I also consider the importance of getting to know the poet’s history along with their work. Many experienced extremely hard lives brimming with adversity. Perhaps theses experiences provided a remarkable influence on their work, and likewise, their work on their lives.

Do you remember writing your first poem? How old were you? What was it about?

My first poem, Camp, happened on June 29, 2009. I had taken my daughter, Aarilyn, camping at a friend’s cabin in Wild Rose, WI. I actually started the poem the day before typing it into my cell-phone notes application while watching her play. We had a tremendous time and I was compelled to document it somehow, and the words just came to mind. Everything that is written is exactly how the weekend occurred or past history. Myself, I was 33 at the time, and had no clue about form or meter.

How often do you find yourself writing poetry? Are there moments or moods that draw you to poetry more than others?

I find that I engage in spurts. In the beginning it was once or twice a month, or maybe a couple months would fly by and then I would write another piece. As I continued to grow, some writing occurs on a weekly basis, schedule permitting. Given the influence of Dr. Swift I enjoy telling a story or a sequence of events perhaps of a remarkable experience –so an event may key engagement. On a more personal note, I deal with a medical condition coincidentally having affected many poets and certainly mood comes into play but I do not believe I am an emotional writer, nor would I consider my writing as a result of the affliction, although it may have some influence beyond my capabilities.

What is your process for writing poetry? (Laptop, notebook, morning hours, last thing at night..) Is this process different than for other types of writing you may do?

My process is simple. I have a laptop which served me well while completing my BS degree and I treat it as a desktop in a small office area I converted from basically a mud room. There is a large window and the area allows me to focus. Most of my poetry writing occurs in the evening, sometimes very late evening. I find the process to be relaxing and thought provoking –reflective. Sometimes on a weekend morning I may be compelled to write as well. I would not indicate that the process differs much from other writing I may practice.

Have you published your poems anywhere? If yes, please share the book or publication with us. If no, do you have any plans to publish in the future?

I had a nice surprise one day when I received a letter from Greenspring Publishing indicating they would like to publish my second poem, Thought, in a small book called Whispers. An anonymous individual submitted the poem. I had used the poem in a business class focused on creativity. I do not know who sent it in, to this day. I suspected my professor did and even presented him with a copy of the book, but he never said a word. This is not a mainstream publisher by any means but was a very neat experience. Recently, my poem Chopper was published in a small biker/motorcycle enthusiast newspaper called Free Riders Press. I have some poems listed on my website, Poemhunter, and privately on Facebook. I realize the strong differentiation of internet vs. conventional publishing but I believe while I am still a novice that I am not too concerned with professional publishing at this time.

How would you respond to people who claim they don’t like poetry?

This is a phenomenal question. I grew up playing football, wrestling and riding dirt bikes. As a young adult riding Harley’s. In 2001 I build a hard tail Harley Shovelhead chopper. I do not exactly fit the demographic or stereotype of someone involved with poetry to the degree that I currently find myself. My commentary is not intended to indicate stereotypes or perception but merely to indicate the power of the written word can attract anyone at any time. If someone told me they didn’t like poetry I might kindly ask who or what they may have read and offer the perspective that poets and poems are as different as the reader, perhaps you have not found someone you can relate to better. Poetry is about the message but that is not singular in objective. Poetry is also about the perception of the reader, the influence of experience and imagination coupled with the intended or unintended message. Finally, I believe a rare minority does not appreciate music and lyrics and this is a form of poetry that touches lives daily, absolutely.

Where can we find out more about you?

If you are compelled, you can email me at jeff.boire@gmail.com or find me at Facebook.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you Cherie. You are a remarkable writer, well accomplished and I have learned a great deal from you in a short time. My best to you. [Editor’s note: Thanks, Jeff!]

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