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2024 Writer-in-Residence

The Green Cube Gallery is pleased to present Michael Boughn as our 2024 Writer-in-Residence program, made possible by the Estate of Mick Burrs (Steven Michael Berzensky 1940-2021). This program seeks to explore environmental concerns through the unique possibilities that are only offered through the written word. Each year, an esteemed writer will be chosen to write poetry or other texts, and bring forward contributions by other writers (contemporary or historic), culminating into the publication of an anthology.

 

Los Angeles born, Mick Burrs was one of Canada’s finest poets, winning both the Saskatchewan Poetry Award in 1983, and the Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry in 1998. With seven published books of poetry, over 30 chapbooks, and 800 poems in various literary journals, Mick was a former editor of Grain, the prestigious prairie literary magazine. More about Mick Burrs can be found here.

Poet Michael Boughn and his dog Case

Michael Boughn

Michael Boughn

Bleu de Chanel

Collage

EGLINTON AT 5

Michael Boughn

Click Enter To Win (for Ammiel)

Collage

GLOBAL WARMING vs. TEXAS

Michael Boughn

That, With

Collage

THE WAR ON THE CAR


Michael Boughn is a writer and teacher whose published works include poetry, literary essays, short stories, and young adult non-fiction. He is also an artist, whose collage works have been exhibited in Canada and US.

 

Michael Boughn bends the rules of syntax and poetic structure, a series of impressions, moods, and moments come together to form a larger image. A single thought or concept, when examined closely, can reveal multiple layers of meaning and implications. Artists use and rearrange art elements to achieve unique meanings and interpretations. As with his collage works, Boughn takes us on a surreal ride where oddity, absurdity, and emotional complexity are used as lenses to understand the larger interconnected tapestry of existence, fostering a deeper contemplation of the human experience and our relation to the planet.

Born in Riverside, California 1946, he was a third-generation Californian but moved to Canada in 1966 because of his opposition to the war against Viet Nam. Landing in Vancouver, he enrolled at Simon Fraser University--after planting trees in the bush for a year--where he studied with Robin Blaser who introduced him to the work of William Blake, Ezra Pound, H.D. William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, Robert Creeley, Ed Dorn and others. It was the defining moment of his life.

From 1970 to 1979, Boughn worked on the lakefront in Toronto loading and unloading boxcars and trailers at Smith Transport, while organizing against the Viet Nam war and supporting anti-racist politics within the south Asian community in Toronto. In 1978 he returned to California where he ran a high speed press in a metal stamping factory in Silicon Valley while finishing his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He continued to develop his poetry during these years, though never publishing.

 

In 1978, he moved to Buffalo, N.Y. where he joined the graduate program at SUNY Buffalo. From 1980-1985 he worked as Robert Creeley’s graduate assistant and a cataloger in the Poetry/Rare Books Collection. His dissertation was a descriptive bibliography of H.D., published in 1993 by the University of Virginia. Graduating with a PhD. in 1986, he remained in Buffalo, working with another of his teachers, the poet John Clarke, to produce the magazine intent: a newsletter of talk, thinking and document.  At this time he started a micro press, shuffaloff, which over the years has irregularly published work by Robert Creeley, John Clarke, Robin Blaser, and a number of younger poets including Elizabeth Willis, Jorge Guitart, and Lisa Jarnot. In 1991, he married Elizabeth Brown, had two children and in 2001, became a Canadian citizen.

Michael Boughn is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Iterations of the Diagonal, Dislocations in Crystal, 22 Skidoo / SubTractions, Great Canadian Poems for the Aged Vol. 1 Illus. Ed., City—A Poem from the End of the World, and Hermetic Divagations—After H.DCosmographia – a post-Lucretian faux micro-epic was short listed for the Canadian Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2011, prompting a reviewer in the Globe and Mail to describe him as “an obscure veteran poet with a history of being overlooked.” With Victor Coleman he edited Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book for the University of California Press. From 2014 to 2018 he edited the online poetry disturbance known as Dispatches from the Poetry Wars with co-conspirator, Kent Johnson. He has also published books for young adults, including the Maple Award nominated Into the World of the Dead, a mystery novel, Business As Usual, a descriptive bibliography of the American poet, H.D., and numerous essays on film, writing, architecture and music. His most recent books, published in 2022, are Uncertain Remains and The Book of Uncertain—A Hyperbiographical Users' Manual.  A collection of his essays, Measure’s Measures, has just been published by Station Hill Press, as is a chapbook from above/ground press.

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At the heart of Michael Boughn’s Measure’s Measures are fundamental questions about poetry’s relation to modes of knowing the world beyond what’s given. Lovingly addressed to the work of poets associated with the New American Poetry and their predecessors, these essays probe the development of what Boughn calls the somatic poetics of transformative gnosis. Boughn’s method combines a wide range of scholarship with his affectionate personal knowledge of many of the poets, and a radically decentered view of the stakes poetry brings to considerations of our post-modern moment. Rethinking the history of 20th century US American poetry, these essays challenge the academic containment of poetry to literary studies, opening it into a thriving wilderness of thinking being. Available here

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