Boise

Poetry in Boise, Idaho

The Boise State University MFA Reading Series

Downtown Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise. Image from http://victoria-weather.com/2012/06/11/boise-idaho-to-appleton-wisconsin/

Rather than highlight a specific poem, poet, reading, or series this week, I want to showcase a city. And  this isn’t just any city. This is Boise, Idaho — my hometown. Mentioning the city elicits many of the same questions and reactions, so let’s get those out of the way right now. Yes, there are potatoes, but no, we don't eat them all of the time. The city is actually in the West, not the Midwest (Boise is further west than Las Vegas, and you probably mixed it up with Iowa). And yes, Boise State University has the blue turf, and we all saw the 2007 Fiesta Bowl game. The one question I never get asked, however, is “How is the poetry in Boise?” It's a shame that I never get to answer this question too, because there is a strong and vibrant poetry community in Boise, with BSU as its center.

I have to begin my profile of Boise with the Boise State University MFA Reading Series,  a series which is crucial to the poetry community in Boise, and is the largest collection related to Boise on PennSound. Recently, Ron Silliman featured a few of these recordings on his blog, almost as a testament to the importance of a series that features prominent writers in a city that is otherwise largely ignored in the literary world. So far, this series has brought a number of poets to Boise, including Susan Schultz, Forrest Gander, Charles Bernstein, Bhanu Kapil, Tom Raworth, and Alice Notley, among others. And it will continue to bring writers in the years to come. Already there are approximately 17 hours worth of readings on PennSound, and even more recordings featuring visiting novelists can be found on the MFA Reading Series iTunes U page

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