Interview With Keith Mark Gaboury

“I had the first line -root of speed- stuck in my head. I thought it was interesting, and I had my journal and went from there. I liked that it was 1 stanza, a continuous thought, condensed time.”

Keith Mark Gaboury’s poem, “I Woke Up”, was published in our online journal (lit mag?). Our editor interviewed him recently about his work.

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Interview with Keith Mark Gaboury

E: First, thanks for agreeing to do an interview. We haven’t done interviews here at Likely Red yet and it’s something we want to try out. This is also my first ever Google Hangout call.

Keith: I’ve also never done an interview like this before.

E: So, writing? Love it or hate it?

Keith: Well I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. I’m a preschool teacher, but I’ve always considered myself more of a writer and poet. It’s definitely something I wanna keep pursuing. You know, you need a day job, but I want to keep being involved in the writing community. At Emerson College, I found my niche poetic verse. While I graduated 5 years ago, my writing has since changed. I found it interesting to poetically explore gender, growing up, sexuality in a surreal context, and I like having the freedom to play around with forms.

E: Where did “I Woke Up” come from?

Keith: I had the first line -root of speed- stuck in my head. I thought it was interesting, and I had my journal and went from there. I liked that it was 1 stanza, a continuous thought, condensed time.

E: There was some, I don’t want to say symbolism, but there were some earthy overtones to “I Woke Up”, like “Tree rung limbs sprouted” and “blue earth blanket”. How do you feel about nature?

Keith: I wrote other poems that deal with nature, so that comes through. I wanted to use nature in an interesting way with nature taken out of context and put into this scene in the poem. As this poem isn’t set in nature, it’s interesting to me to use nature in this way.

E: A lot of our submissions lately have involved fruit. Do you have a favorite berry?

Keith: Boysenberry, because it has the word boy in it. Haha, that’s interesting that you’ve had a lot of people writing about fruit.

E: Yeah, must be something in the air.

Keith: Yeah.

E: Any recent influential reads?

Keith: I have to finish it tonight, but I’ve been doing this thing called the Eric Hoffer award. They mail me poetry books and I pick the best 3. Alice James books, their poetry seems super steller. There’s one, Calling A Wolf A Wolf by Kaveh Akbar, and another one, Driving Without A License, by Janine Joseph. I always find that after I read a book that I like, I always wanna find out more about the publisher.

E: Has teaching influenced your writing?

Keith: Yes, in that I’m working on a collection of 20 poems, future poems, in the 22nd century, but then it’s like preschool in the 22nd century, or terrorism, or robots, and human values of empathy. I think that’s because my experience teaching, because with kids, you want them to have empathy and compassion.

E: Yeah, I’ve been doing some work teaching kindergartners in an after school program and my goals in the classroom have also found their way into some of my writing work. I think that’s why I wanted to ask that.

Keith: Yeah. With them, there are 2 hats, my teaching hat and then my poet hat.

E: Okay, so if readers had to read one other literary journal or lit mag after reading this interview, which one should it be?

Keith: This is probably just personal bias because it’s my experience working, but 14 Hills Literary Magazine. They’re out of San Francisco State. I used to be on the staff. I’ve submitted but been rejected. It’s a student run lit mag with a faculty advisor.

E: Favorite poem or piece that’s not yet found a home?

Keith: Late last year I had a poetry consultation from a poet at Black Lawrence Press. The poet read over my work and liked it, but it wasn’t a fit. It’s called “Uber Friend”. It’ll probably get somewhere. And I just had a poem accepted that I’ve been submitting for 3 years. It got accepted by Literary Juice.

E: That’s some serious dedication.

Keith: I think you just keep submitting work that you believe in and eventually it finds a home.

E: What would your best friend say about your writing?

Keith: Well at open mics and things I’m known for weird poetry. Surreal. Poetry that grabs at you at the start and just pulls along. Sometimes I’ll read a poem and when it’s over, I don’t feel anything. I wanna write poetry that stays with the reader after it’s over.

E: I think you mentioned it a little already, but what are you working on now?

Keith: I started writing a surreal poetry book. “I Woke Up” is a part of it. I’ve got the 1st half that focuses on surreal contemporary poems, and the 2nd half is surreal futuristic poems. The second half still needs more work. I’ll probably flesh it out a little more throughout the rest of the year.

E: We will certainly be looking forward to that. Any other interesting future projects, let us know. We’ll tweet them.

Keith: Thanks. When I get it done I’ll let you know.

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