New Hampshire Writers’ Project: Goffstown author’s book links poetry and spirituality

New Hampshire Writers’ Project
Published: 10/20/2019 6:03:24 PM

Author Gary Bouchard brings readers a collection of poetry that includes works from both masters and contemporary poets in his new book, Twenty Poems to Pray.

The book is an anthology that arranges 20 poems into six different seasonally thematic categories, all of which have to do with transition, rites of passage and various stages of ordinary life. Bouchard seamlessly weaves in his own narrative through his essays. In so doing, he makes each poem relevant to the individual experience of the reader.

There is an element of deep spirituality throughout the poetry and prose. “It is a compilation and re-writing of essays that I published as a regular column in Parable magazine for three years,” said Bouchard. “The editor wanted me to help people experience the connections between edifying poetry and prayer, so I went to work trying with some of my favorite poems and poets. As I say in my opening sentence, ‘Poetry and prayer are close cousins, if not siblings.’ ”

Bouchard, a Goffstown resident, currently serves as the executive director of the Gregory J. Grappone Humanities Institute at Saint Anselm College and teaches in the English Department. He has previously published two scholarly books on 16th- and 17th-century poets: Colin’s Campus: Cambridge University and the English Pastoral (2000) and Southwell’s Sphere: The Influence of England’s Secret Poet.

Additionally, he has written two dozen scholarly articles and book chapters; and more than 50 feature articles for Parable magazine, where he has been the consulting editor and a lead writer since 2007.

He manages these many hats by living out the advice of his mentor. “My mentor from many years ago taught me to get up very early because, she said, ‘that’s when the muses are out.’ It was one of her many pieces of wisdom that has held true. Once the world is up and at work the only thoughts left to have are mostly ordinary ones.”

When Bouchard is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife “discovering more and more of the beauty of New Hampshire in all of its seasons. The happiest exploration is usually from our kayaks.”

Gary Bouchard is a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.

(About the New Hampshire Writers’ Project: Founded in 1988, the New Hampshire Writers’ Project is the state’s largest literary arts nonprofit organization. The NHWP fosters and celebrates New Hampshire writers and provides a supportive community to writers of all ages, experience levels, backgrounds and genres. NHWP core programs, publications, website and annual 603 Writers’ Conference provide writers and readers with opportunities to meet each other, network and learn more about the art of writing and the business of publishing.)

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