The Honickman Foundation

2005 APR / Honickman First Book Prize Winner

Geoff Bouvier, Living Room

"I grew up in a very verbal family and have been creating books since I was three years old. But now, creating a book is about much more than just folding the paper and stapling. It's about writing the poems, collecting them in such a way so that they talk to each other, and reinventing poetry through my own filter."

Geoff Bouvier, 2005 Book Prize recipient, acknowledges that winning this prize gave him the assurance that he had succeeded in doing what he set out to do – that he had, in fact, successfully reinvented poetry through his own filter. He also held a deep respect for that year's judge, Heather McHugh.

"Heather demonstrated in her introduction to Living Room that she understood the work fully. And the Fact that she articulated it so brilliantly was deeply gratifying."

As It Was Going to Be

The clearest stories, strung bell-like back from inevitable conclusions,
light one present moment to its restful end. When he woke up sober
she was gone. Every story, if it is justified and complete, begins at
home—at the end—and then returns, to lead its troubled moment
back toward narrative's peaceful place. He drank to make her leave
him. There are preferences that misdirect such orderly themes—
selfish concerns, confusion, laziness, and so on—but they reduce
to a single reference, the question of sequence, or rather the question
of which sequence alights in storied moments from its own end.
Vanilla, cigarettes, wild almond—her smells—stank into gin. These
end-lights shine through darkness in a pattern of necessity, the lack
of alternatives branded "inevitability." An impression in the bed was
left to hold him. For example: I've begun before suitable ends, have
not returned here all the way, did not fly straightly through the
futures in reversible order, or not the proper futures, or not decisive

Since winning the prize, Geoff has been a writer for the San Diego Reader and has had his work published in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, New American Writing, Western Humanities Review, and VOLT. In 2009 he was the Holloway Visiting Poet at the University of California-Berkeley.

"It has always felt good to say 'yes I have written this book and I'm glad it won this prize.' APR was incredibly supportive, and I still feel like I am one of theirs."

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