In conversation with Ace Boggess

Our readers would like to know your inspiration (or story, if any) behind Born into Both My Eyes.

This one is pretty straight-forward. If I don’t know what I’m going to write, I always ask myself what’s going on in my life today? Then I write about that. There’s always a lot going on, even when it seems like there’s not. If I ask myself that question and can’t find an answer, then I need to stop writing poetry and get out of the house and do something, find an adventure. Here, I had plenty of adventure: a convergence of three things, which I think is what makes this poem work. They form their weird little puzzle together.

Tell us more about your creative process in general.

I always read for about half an hour before I start writing. Poetry, prose, whatever--I read and drink coffee. Then I launch into writing whatever I’m going to write. Sometimes I have an idea going in, and sometimes I just let the poem take me wherever it does. Every time is a little different. 

Do you have any creative influences? What do you like the most about their work? Does it have a discernible effect on your writing?

Many many many influences. I read too much poetry for a sane man (not that I am sane, but you know what I mean). The two books that have the biggest impact on me are David Lehman’s The Evening Sun, which is full of energy and life, and Adam Zagajewski’s Without End, which is filled with a depth of thought I aspire to but never quite achieve. 

Are there any creative genres, forms, themes, techniques etc. you wish you could employ in your writing which you haven’t yet?

I wish I could write screenplays. That’s where the money is. But, alas... these aren’t the droids I’m looking for. 

What are you looking forward to in your creative career?

I have my seventh book of poems coming out next year from Fernwood Press, and my first short-story collection tentatively forthcoming from Running Wild Press. I’m pretty excited about those things. Mostly though, I’m just looking forward to getting back on the road and doing readings again. The pandemic wiped out all my momentum, and it’s taking a while for me to get it back. 

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble. His seventh collection, Tell Us How to Live, is forthcoming in 2024 from Fernwood Press.