Get to Know the Editors! - Jacqueline Boucher (Poetry)
Good news, marrow babies (Yes? No? We'll keep working on it). We're back with another issue of our editorial roundtable. Last week, you got to know Ashely, our nonfiction editor, and now we're back to talk about poems (and feelings. And viscera. You know, the usual)!
Name and Position: I'm Jacqueline Boucher, the poetry editor for Lammergeier and a sentimental warlock. My dark patron is feelings.
What’s your experience in the literary world?: Like any respectable writer worth their salt, I cut my teeth writing fiction—that is, novel-length Animorphs fanfiction in which a character who looked like an older, sexier, cooler version of me befriended and seduced Marco through the power of jokes. In that way, I've never not been a writer, it just took me a little while to find poetry as a primary means of communication. I came to poetry first through gentle coaxing (many thanks to Emily Wall), then through the spoken word community Christy NaMee Eriksen shaped and fostered in my small Alaskan town. Through Christy and slam, I first knew poetry as a means of community building, healing, and empowerment of voice, which has remained central to my poetic values.
I learned my editorial skills largely from my time as a reader—and eventual Managing Editor—of Passages North, as well as through my peers and instructors at Northern Michigan University's MFA program. Now, I'm working as a term instructor at Kansas State University, which has given me the opportunity to begin sharing my ideas and hopes about poetry at large with my own students.
What are some works/authors that inspire you?: Because I got started in slam, no list of my influences is complete without the authors who are the reason I got started writing in the first place. Anis Mojgani, Danez Smith, J.W. Basilo, JeanAnn Verlee, Sarah Kay, and Lauren Zuniga's videos were in constant rotation as I Iearned how to be a poet. My own work has moved more toward the lyric in the years since I got started, but I owe my work's sense of rhythm to those poets.
I've always loved to see writers who play around with genre and form in a way that's interesting and new. I love work that engages with big and messy ideas, and seeing writers who engage with the lyric over the course of a project's execution is mind-boggling and wonderful to me. Jenny Boully's The Book of Beginnings and Endings is an amazing example of a book that grapples with that sort of work, as are Fatimah Asghar's If They Come for Us and Chase Berggrun's R E D. Matthew Olzmann's Contradictions in the Design remains one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Ross Gay, Jamaal May, and Peggy Shumaker write books that I keep coming back to.
Outside of poetry, I'm inspired by horror films, especially the ones rife with baroque gore and gothic weirdness.
What kind of writing would you like to see more of in the world?: For me, poetry is at its most arresting when it can live two lives. I'd like to see more poetry that has the potential to live in the voice as well as on the page. There's a common, and very ugly, misconception about the divide between spoken word and page poets, and I'd like to see more work that engages with the fact that those lines—like any other genre and form line—are so much more interesting when they're not starkly drawn.
Additionally, I'll never not love work that engages with the messiness of identity, of trauma and survival, of the wilder and weirder parts of falling in love. I love poems that are gross and beautiful and bonkers and mundane all at the same time.
What are your writing pet peeves?: The small stuff: center justification and capitalization of every first line. Aside from the aesthetic aspect of it, it tends to be difficult for me to read and follow the formation of the sentence.
The not-so-small stuff: I'll be honest here and say that "pet peeve" is too small a word for what I'm about to say. I won't accept work that trivializes or romanticizes trauma and violence enacted against others.
And finally, because this has been a conversation that's taken place in my community: don't submit stolen work. Please, just don't. I'll do my best to catch it, and will always strive to do my due diligence to make sure that the work Lammergeier puts out is original and coming from a place of good faith. If this is something you have questions or concerns about, please reach out to me, and I'll be happy to point you toward some resources on the subject.
Favorite bone?: I love a vestigial bone. For example, the pelvic girdle of a baleen whale? *chef's kiss*
Jacqueline Boucher (she/her) is a queer poet who lives and writes in Kansas. Her work has been a finalist for the Write Bloody manuscript contest, and has appeared in Occulum, The Rising Phoenix Review, Cartridge Lit, BOOTH, Hobart, Smokelong Quarterly, and other magazines. Her life’s ambition is to write a book-length love letter to Hannibal Lecter and to convince her cats to pay rent.