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.