Apocalyptic Rabbit No. 280-401-206-197 RFID No. NOA13

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Rich Boucher is a performance poet who has been active on the stage since 1991. He began to learn and hone his “craft” in the early 1990’s in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, logging in countless hours at the various open stages, poetry coffeehouses and radio shows there (two venues, in particular, would have lasting impact on his entire career: The Worcester Artist Group at 38 Harlow Street, and Eleni’s Midnight Cafe). Through his tireless enthusiasm for the art and its live performance throughout the New England environs, Rich would also become one of the founding members of the Worcester Poetry Asylum, a tight-knit and impressively diverse live poetry scene which still thrives to this day. His efforts in the region earned him memberships on two national poetry slam teams representing the city of Worcester (he was on both the 1995 and the 1996 Worcester, Massachusetts teams), a spot as a featured performer at the 1995 Austin International Poetry Festival, and an award by the Worcester Phoenix Magazine’s 1998 Reader’s Poll for the title of Best Local Spoken Word Performer. It was during this period when Boucher released the first of his three books of poetry: Swimsuit Apocalypse – 13 poems by Rich Boucher was released in 1995 and sold remarkably well for a self-published chapbook, selling out over three printings. troublemaker, Boucher’s second chapbook of poems, was released in 1996 and sold quite nearly as well as his first book. This was a period of numerous artistic endeavors for Boucher, who, during this time period co-founded and co-edited a small-circulation art and poetry’zine entitled Whip’t Scream, sang lead for a Worcester County-based rock band called The Guilt, and co-hosted a combination talk radio/poetry in performance radio show called “Transmitting Live from Pale Ramon’s Den of Iniquity” on Holy Cross College Radio (1993).

Events in Boucher’s life precipitated a move to the state of Delaware in late 1997, where he looked to find the local poetry community. A local cafe owner was willing to allow Boucher to conduct a poetry open mike night in his establishment – and The Tuesday Night Poetry Open Mike and Slam – the series and the community, was born. The year 1997 also saw the release of Boucher’s third chapbook of poetry, Every Fear Balanced On The Tip Of Her Tongue. In Delaware Boucher would move on to forge new friendships and new poetic alliances, in time becoming a member of both the Delaware Literary Connection’s Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of the Newark Arts Alliance. Boucher’s contributions to the scene in Delaware were to become so significant that no less a personage than Joe Allen, the longtime host of the Second Saturday Poets series in Wilmington (a regular poetry event that itself was in full bloom long before Boucher’s arrival) would declare that “In Delaware, Rich Boucher is the Pope of the Spoken Word.”

Continuing in the somewhat nomadic tradition of his earlier career, Boucher has made Delaware his “home-base” of operations while also actively participating in the performance poetry scenes in neighboring D.C., New Jersey and Maryland. In 2001 Boucher won a spot on the Washington D.C. National Poetry Slam Team, which competed in the National Poetry Slam in Seattle, Washington. This was a great milestone for Boucher, who, for the first time in his slam career, “outperformed” a large number of other poets to make it to the Semifinals stage of the Nationals.

Boucher has been a guest speaker and performer at numerous educational institutions, including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester State College, Washington State University, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Delaware, and the Cab Calloway School for the Performing Arts. He has taught the basics of poetry as a guest educator at The Ferris School for Boys in Wilmington, Delaware. Some of Boucher’s work has been published in small print magazines, and some of his writings have been published online as well.

For seven years, in the small handful of locations the event has had, Boucher has hosted the Tuesday Night Poetry Open Mike and Slam in Newark, Delaware. In November of 2004, Boucher passed the torch of host to close friend and trusted colleague Beverly Wilkinson, so that he could engage in more rigorous and diligent pursuit of the publication of his poetry in print magazines and journals.

Boucher divides those who have influenced his writing and performing into two groups: the page, and the stage. Among the great American poets of old, Boucher names ex. cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Wallace Stevens, and Charles Bukowski as the top tier of poets whose work has influenced him the most. Boucher proudly considers performance poets Bill MacMillan, Sean Shea, Marc Smith &Lea Deschenes the strongest and most enduring influences on his performance style.

Still living and writing in the town of Newark, Delaware.

Update: As of March, 2008, this blog originates from the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the author currently resides.

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10 Comments »

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  1. Very cool, man. Some would dare say groovy. You’re words are gold – keep it going.

  2. Thank you!

  3. I was just sitting here with no machines to fix and I figured I’d surf the past and conjure up old memories from days long ago. I was searching for some early 90’s WAG shows and some late nights sipping down coffee at Elenis and this came up. Rich Boucher is certainly a dear friend of mine whom I haven’t spoken to since one night at Java Hut in 97 or so. It was brief, but great to see him and knowing that he is doing well.
    After reading this article I am grateful to know that he has excelled in his craft of verbology. Keep on keepin’ on my friend.

  4. Trevor! How ARE you?! My goodness, how good it is to hear from you!

  5. Dear Rich — or should I say “White Rabbit”?

    You probably don’t remember me, but I have had the pleasure of attending a few of your great Tues. evening meetings at the Arts Alliance, though not recently. I asked the Newark Senior Center to celebrate National Poetry Month, and thus became NSC’s Poetry chairman. We have had an odd assortment of events: noontime reading of one poem each day, a well-attended reading by Dr. Fleda Brown, a reading of Robt. Burns’s poetry by a true Scotsman (Peter Lavery), an Annenberg video on the life of Emily Dickinson, and a lesson on writing haiku by a lady who writes interesting non-haiku short poems. Today I am going to review National Poetry Month events from across the nation (which is why I am searching the Web at this outrageous hour) And respond to a request that we might form a poetry club at the Center. Few of our people drive at night, so our meetings (if any) will have to be in afternoons.
    Would you have time to call me some evening at (302) 737-2855? I would like a bit of advice and a chance to discuss the possibility of your coming to the Center (with books in hand) for a reading in the Fall or Winter (perhaps mid-October). Long before that time, I hope to get to some of the Tuesday eve. readings. Cheerio! And 3,000 cheers for every poet!

  6. Hey Rich! Its always so awkward intiating a conversation with someone when you’ve lost count of the number of years since the last conversation, but here we go anyway. In all likelihood you don’t remember me; I was the underage quasi-stalker of the newark art scene.

    Well, if you do have the faintest memory of me, it would be great to hear from you. Fortunately, I am less nieve and more philisophical now that I’ve progressed from rebelious teen to suave co-ed. I don’t know if this took down my email, but he it is: amanda.richard@sjca.edu

    ok, well I hope things are well with you and I hope to hear from you sometime.

    Ciao!

  7. What the deally rich,
    Its your friendly neighborhood minority here to add some ” flava to yo page broham”. We are going to rock at nationals,

  8. Good to see that your particular brand of everything is still avalable to an unsuspecting public!

  9. 🙂

  10. Rich, I googled and googled and finally found you. Your work rocks like usual! What are you doing in New Mexico?!?!? Miss the Worcester snow? I am not sure if I should tell you who I am or let you guess….


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