Thursday, August 20, 2009

D.A. Boucher "The Butcher”: A Poet With Prime Cuts.

D.A. Boucher "The Butcher”: A Poet With Prime Cuts.

D. A. Boucher, also known as The Butcher, has been a regular at open-mike
poetry events throughout New England for years.

He founded The Collective,a troupe of poets, actors, comedians, musicians, and performance artists that shook up Boston with performances that shattered political, cultural and artistic boundaries.

He has published a chapbook, Uncle Gay Dave, and is best known and loved for Penguins, a poignant and profound commentary on ecological catastrophes in Antarctica, the decline of the New England seafaring tradition, and fluctuations in price structures in the illicit cannabis market.

I talked with him on my Somerville Community Access TV Show “Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer”

Doug Holder: As so many poets have, you cut your teeth with Jack Powers’ Stone Soup Poets.

DA Boucher: Yes. I started there in 1991. From there things took on a life of their own, and off we went. We gathered momentum and an entourage of all these poets and people, perfecting and honing our craft.

DH: What was it about Stone Soup that made it such a good spot for emerging poets?

DA: At the time there were only a couple of poetry readings in Cambridge. It was held at T.T The Bear’s in Cambridge’s Central Square. The place was a bar, had a stage, a sound system, so you really could have some fun with this open space. It was a real, hole-in-the-wall music club—all kinds of bands played there. It was dirty and you could smoke. You had beer and cigarettes, poetry and music. And Jack Powers was a mover and shaker and brought people in from all over the world. It was a really great experience. Everything I know about poetry I didn’t learn in the classroom, I learned it in the barroom at Stone Soup.

DH: Can you talk about the iconoclastic collective you founded, with such characters as Cat and Rat Bastard?
DA: The collective sort of came together. It wasn't "Hey, I think I'll go and form a poetry performance troupe!' It just sort of happened. I had a feature, and I had 30 minutes to fill, and I thought: "I can't do this by myself." So I asked Cat and Rat to join me. The next thing you know we are doing more and more shows. We had a big band, a guitar player, a bass player, we had painted naked boys. It was one of those things that was organic--it just happened.

DH: What is your philosophical approach to your art?

DA: To do stuff that doesn't suck. You know that is uplifting, and fun. In the poetry world we tend to take ourselves too seriously. So we tried to develop some humorous observations on life.

DH: I noticed your earlier poetry was of a more traditional form. You have morphed into something else since then.

DA: It just happened. I just write and it just happened.

DH: You are a child of the stifling, conformity of the suburbs. Did this spur you on to be a writer?

DA: Certainly. It was a whole breeding ground of fodder for my writing later on in life. I had an overpowering urge to get out of the suburban neighborhoods.

DH: You wrote a book Uncle Gay Dave, and you are known as a Gay activist. Did the book exorcise your demons so to speak? Was it written to educate?

DA: It was a little of both. I wanted to write something a little different from what I had been writing. It jus opened doors.

DH: You have conducted many interviews with poets like CD Collins, Michael Brown, Jack Powers, Bill Barnum, in your magazine Umbrella. What is the secret to the art of interviewing?

DA: We had set questions. So that always helped. We sat down and worked out 20 questions. We tried to ask something that was offbeat. Like: "What kind of car do you drive, Doug?" They probably know all about you and your influences, but people want to know this. " My God, he drives an SUV, in these times!"

DH: How long did you do the magazine?

DA: We did it for a year. Then we went to a website. We did one a month. The Umbrella brought many poets out of the woodwork.

DH: Can you talk about your poet mentors and influences?

DA: My influences are mostly songwriters like Neil Young and Cat Stevens. I wasn't into poetry as a kid, but I read a ton of novels.

DH: You were the opening act for a number of musicians.

DA: I was part of an opening act for Billy Bragg at the Middle East one year, I shared the stage with Michelle Shocked, and I also performed with David Amram and John Sinclair.

DH: Any poets you read religiously?
DA: Charles Bukowski is my favorite. I was introduced to Bukowski at the City Lights Bookstore. I like Ginsberg's short poems. I am a short attention span poet.

DH: Can you talk about the CD you put out "Beyond the Pages?"

DA: We put it out in 2003. We have Cat on that, as well as others. There are vocals. We wanted something for posterity.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Hey mister bloger, if you possibly have contact info for D.A. will you please tell him that two of his old friends are trying to get hold of him. My computer crashed so I lost what I had. Please tell D.A. that LaDiva and Trish the Fish would love to hear from him. He can contact me at Thanks.