On “City Brain”: An Interview with Keith Mark Gaboury

City Brain” is a poem by Keith Mark Gaboury published in the REVIVAL issue of Orange Quarterly (OQ 5), released in fall 2017 (on October 31).

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What inspired to write this poem?

I wrote “City Brain” at a free workshop through the San Francisco Creative Writing Institute. After studying and discussing a chapter in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, the teacher challenged us to a free write exercise around what defines a city. “City Brain” is what I wrote through this literary experience.   

Why do I write poetry?

More than anything, I’ve always defined myself as a writer/poet. I remember writing poetry in elementary school and a short story in middle school that at the time I thought was amazing. It was only natural that I studied English literature/creative writing in college and graduate school. Above all, I’ve always been captivated by the hypnotic pull that a well-crafted poem has on me. I hope to capture that feeling through my own writing. From my perspective, I love how great poetry is about compression of language where emotion is squeezed within such a tight space on the page. That’s why I write. That why I read. That’s why I care to get up in the morning and feel that I have a poetic contribution to make that hasn’t already been expressed before.

In what ways do I think art and poetry are vital to society today?

In a society where demand for news and gratisfaction streams into our minds, art and poetry gives us a vital opportunity to slow down and really focus on the details. When studying a poem or a painting, at times the literary or aesthetic response does not need to be a one-sentence catch-all you can fit in your pocket. Indeed, creative expression moves beyond the obvious into the surprising, the surreal, the challenging. I believe every citizen in our society should be surprised and challenged. Art and poetry are two avenues for which the status quo can be uprooted and examined for its validity in a twenty-first century time. I love that power. Don’t you?

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Keith Mark Gaboury earned a MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. His poems have appeared in such publications as Eclectica Magazine, Fife:2:One Magazine, and New Millennium Writings. He is a preschool teacher and poet in San Francisco, California. Learn more at www.pw.org/content/keith_gaboury.

City Brain

I propped my neuro ganglia of dirt road origin up against
the Millennium Tower foundation Pa welded thirty years
back. His five o’clock shadow arrived at three o’clock as
sparks leapt like rabbits in a heat of progress. I’ve come to
a San Francisco city slap where the air is buttressed
between metal extensions, but I will not grow a city brain
in some concrete garden when the lettuce heads back home
are screaming my name.

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Keith Mark Gaboury earned a MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. His poems have appeared in such publications as Eclectica Magazine, Fife:2:One Magazine, and New Millennium Writings. He is a preschool teacher and poet in San Francisco, California. Learn more at www.pw.org/content/keith_gaboury.

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