with Ace Boggess:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Ace: Late 1980s, high school. I was into horror and fantasy at the time, so my influences were writers like Clive Barker and Lawrence Watt-Evans. The only poetry I had read was the curriculum stuff like Keats and Coleridge.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Ace: There are many writers I love, and I gain from reading all of them, but the two writers whose works have had the biggest impact on me are Adam Zagajewski, who unfortunately died last year, and David Lehman, whose daily poems of the early 2000s were instant favorites. Those are the authors I read over and over and always feel the tone of my own work changing.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Ace: I’ve lived in West Virginia my whole life, so it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have written anything without the specific circumstances of my being here. However, the biggest thing is that I have pretty severe social-anxiety issues, and I think growing up here has contributed to those. It’s an easy state to not leave the house in. If you don’t go looking for people, they don’t come looking for you right back.
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Ace: Without question, my book The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) was a major life event. I wrote all of the poems while incarcerated, submitted them from prison and had most accepted and published in journals while I was inside. I put the book together over four years, and submitted it during the fifth. I got the acceptance for it from Brick Road on the day I made it out. It’s my defining book.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Ace: Not really. I just started writing at some point, and before I knew it, I had written a (terrible) novel, then another. Then I had a few poems published and few short stories. Then I wrote some better novels and better poetry. Things just sort of grew beyond my control.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Ace: I love concerts and movies. I’m a child of television, so I’ll watch almost anything.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Ace: I’ll be doing a book premiere for Escape Envy (now available, get it while it’s hot) on Zoom at 8 p.m. July 7, along with poet Robbi Nester. *UNFORTUNATELY This event has already passed at time of posting this interview, we apologize for the inconvenience to Ace) *
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others?
Ace: “My life has been filled with noise / I thought was music” from “An Autobiography” in the current issue of Hotel Amerika.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Ace: That’s a tough one. I’ve taught myself for the most part by reading and analyzing everything I could get my hands on from poetry journals to philosophical dictionaries and all the good stuff in between. That said, I’d have to say novelist John Van Kirk, the professor of my last college class in 1993, because he showed me the importance of reading better books. That can’t be emphasized enough. Reading is the key to everything.