Oyster River Pages: Who are the writers who have made you who you are?
Ace Boggess: Okay, the big ones, in the order I encountered their books: William Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Albert Camus, Pablo Neruda, Greg Pape, Natasha Saje, Hermann Hesse, Billy Collins, David Lehman, Adam Zagajewski, Mahmoud Darwish. That gets us to about 2002. The last few years, there have been too many to name.
ORP: What are the lenses that shape your worldview?
AB: Social anxiety, drug addiction, prison. But also journalism and hope.
ORP: What’s the most important thing you’ve read/seen lately?
AB: I keep telling folks to read John Van Kirk's novel Song for Chance. It's the best thing I've read in years. I've been reading a lot of poetry though, and feel strongly about Ada Limon, Keegan Lester, Chen Chen, Karen Craigo, and Jennifer Givhan. Amazing books from all within the last year.
ORP: What’s your least favorite word?
ORP: What’s your favorite thing that you’ve created? (line, image, story, etc.)
AB: My novel A Song Without a Melody is so intimately painful (or painfully intimate) that it will also be my favorite. I'm proudest of The Prisoners (my second book of poems) though, because I wrote it and published most of it in journals while I was locked up, then got my acceptance letter the day I made it out. Love or Pride? Take your pick.
ORP: What do you want to read/see more of in the world?
ORP: How do you pay it forward?
AB: I try to encourage everyone. Not sure if that's a good thing.
ORP: What is the space that has shaped you the most?
AB: Calamity Cafe (if you don't know Huntington, West Virginia, in the 90s, that won't make much sense)
ORP: You’ve just written your autobiography. What’s the title?
AB: Many Pretty Wounds
Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. Find his poem "What Have You Been Watching?" here.