Joshua Chris Bouchard
OCTOBER 17, 2023
88 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-73-2
In Burn Diary, Joshua Chris Bouchard’s debut collection, the reader is immersed in a dark and visceral world, which is both natural and deeply unnatural. Violence walks beside the reader, but so do moments of grace, whether it’s in the echo of a loon call in the evening, or the sight of a friend’s cancer scar and the gift of ice cream. These are unapologetic, gritty poems, which explore the impact of physical and emotional trauma in tightly stretched lines and propel the reader ever forward. There is courage here, and honesty, and energy, and a new, unforgettable, poetic voice.
"A survey of the unrelenting violence of life and love. A boy becomes a man becomes a poet. The poems in Bouchard’s debut are filthy, fearless, and pulsatingly alive. His hands nearly visible on the page, he cradles beauty and trauma at once and, like a strongman with a phonebook, tears them down the centre. As in 'When I Walk Into an Air-Conditioned Dollarama,' Bouchard grabs the reader by the shoulders and screams, 'Oh look at this thing as I pass away I love it.' Burn Diary is a book bound with sinew, pine sap, and scar tissue.” – Fawn Parker, author of Soft Inheritance
“Bouchard presents our world as you have never seen it – have only dared to feel it from the unfinished basement of your 3:00 a.m. mind. These poems sneak out the back door of your memory to ‘[smoke] pot / from a cracked Coke can behind a church,’ then ‘bathe [you] in the golden hem of the sun.’ They break and burn and torment and then, when you least expect it, they settle your wounded heart. These are poems which will teach you the terror of tenderness ripping through you like a train, but only if you are brave enough to let them in.” – Jessica Bebenek, author of No One Knows Us There
Burn Diary by Joshua Chris Bouchard (Catherine Owen, Marrow Reviews, 06/01/2024)
"Joshua Chris Bouchard’s Burn Diary manifests such poems, ones that smoke with anger, smoulder with hunger and even flame with what is so much more important than mere content, his ability to hear the music in language and the line."
Of Grace and Cruelty: A Review of Burn Diary by Joshua Chris Bouchard (Aishwarya Singh, The Ex-Puritan, Fall 2023)
"Poems in Burn Diary gesture to the concealed worlds within our own: root underground, overlooked pockets of earth which provide shelter, the soil constantly breaking down and changing matter."
Howl - Tuesday October 17, 2023 (Valentino Assenza, Howl, 17/10/2023)
Host Valentino Assenza welcomes Joshua Chris Bouchard.
Most Anticipated: Our 2023 Fall Poetry Preview (49th Shelf, 11/08/2023)
Joshua's poetry makes this great list.
About the Author
Joshua Chris Bouchard is the author of Let This Be the End of Me (Bad Books Press), which was shortlisted for the 2019 bpNichol Chapbook Award. He wrote or co-wrote five chapbooks, and his poetry appears in Event, CV2, Carousel, Poetry Is Dead, PRISM international, Arc, The Ex-Puritan and more.