We at Cambridge Common Writers love to celebrate the diversity of our community, which is why we’re thrilled to be continuing our Spotlight series for Pride Month! Come and get to know some of our LGBTIQA+ alums as we ask them about their writing lives and the many wonderful projects they’re working on.
BOSTON GORDON – POETRY, JANUARY 2015
Boston Gordon (they/he) is a poet from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They run the You Can’t Kill A Poet reading series – which highlights queer and trans identified writers in Philadelphia (x , x). Boston earned their MFA in Poetry through Lesley University. They received a Leeway Foundation At & Change grant in 2017. They have previously been published in such places as PRISM International, Guernica, and the American Poetry Review.
What is the driving factor that gets you out of bed to write?
There’s no other way I prefer to describe how I see the world.
What do you enjoy most about your writing?
I like that it is irreverent and sad and sees the dark and dirty parts of the world and reflects on how they make the world more beautiful and interesting.
Do you have any bad writing habits you’ve picked up over the years?
Not writing for weeks in a row. Not reading enough books. Those two things together and you create nothing.
What or who were some of your earliest inspirations in writing?
When I was a kid my favorite book was The Red Badge of Courage. When I was in high school I loved Margaret Atwood’s poetry and thought it was cool to read Shakespeare. In college I loved the beat poets, James Baldwin, and Virginia Woolf. I felt so connected to Go Tell It on the Mountain. I wanted to write like Virginia Woolf. I wanted to create something as beautiful as the Time Passes section of To The Lighthouse.
What is something that tends to get in the way of your writing and how do you overcome it?
Enjoying real life. When I’m out experiencing the world I get caught up in all the textures life has to offer and sometimes I forgot to write them down.
For you, what was the most valuable part of the Lesley MFA program that helped shape your writing career?
The people I met. My peers. Invaluable life lessons learned at 3am with people who support your art while you support theirs. I learned about community and support and making art on 3 hours of sleep.
What is a piece of writing or publishing advice you’ve learned since graduation that you think others should know?
It’s not worth it to spend hundreds of dollars on submission fees. Save your money and make connections with local lit mags and writing communities. Submit to places that you know would value your voice.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that doesn’t have to do with writing.
I play old-time banjo, ukulele, piano, and guitar.
What are you working on now?
I have a book that needs a home and I’m looking for that home actively so hopefully soon! I’m also working for a literary community organization that seeks to provide resources to Philadelphia writers called Blue Stoop that is having its Community Accessibility fundraiser right now. I’m always stumping for my Philadelphia queer and trans poetry reading series You Can’t Kill a Poet that will hopefully be back in person in the not-so-distant future.
Listen to Boston read a selection of their poems: