Laura Boss was never meant to live a life of practicality.
A poet and resident of Guttenberg for almost 30 years, Boss has held a multitude of different jobs, from editing and running a magazine to teaching workshops at different universities all over New Jersey.
Boss is the founder and editor of Lips Magazine, a periodical published biannually that features a collection of poetry. The magazine allows any poet to submit work.
“[I’ve] kept it going for 30 years, which is really very unusual in the poetry world,” said Boss.
“The rewards are wonderful – creating something, and sharing with others.” – Laura Boss
“I’ve gone to many, many schools through Project Impact,” said Boss, “and that’s kind of the bread and butter; [it’s] how I exist.”
In addition to providing the arts to local communities and schools through Project Impact, Boss has also taught as an adjunct professor at both Farleigh Dickinson University and Northern Michigan University, where she was also a poet in residence, as well as a professor at Montclair State University.
“Those are some of the things I do so I can actually buy dog food,” said Boss, with a laugh.
Boss also serves as a visiting author at the Anna Klein School in Guttenberg, free of charge.
“It’s in a sense a struggle financially, being a full time poet,” said Boss, who is also the author of six books, “but the rewards are wonderful - creating something, and sharing with others.”
Her newest position is as the artistic director of the Seventh Biennial Warren Poetry Festival, to take place on Saturday, Sept. 24. The festival will be free and will feature major poets with writing workshops and panels.
The International Poetry Festival, a three-day gathering in June at the Dylan Thomas Theatre in Swansea, Wales, was well-attended by representatives from Argentina, Russia, Mexico, Korea, Italy, Israel, India, England, and more. The festival featured performers and writers of each country.
Boss, in attendance as the representative of the United States, took home the First International Poetry Award, recognizing her for thirty years of contributions to poetry.
“I was very surprised and very grateful,” said Boss, who has won multiple awards for her poetry. She later added that although she was appreciative, “Whether I had gotten any actual awards from poetry, I think I would still be writing.”
“I think to be a writer, you have to be a reader first,” said Boss, who had been writing since the age of 6. “My mother was a teacher and I really thought I’d wind up either being in fashion or teaching. There weren’t many choices in those years for girls.”
After winning a contest in high school, Boss, under the encouragement of her teachers, began to believe that poetry was her calling.
“I think that my family was very worried that it wasn’t a very practical route to go,” said Boss, “but somehow or other it was almost as if I had no choice.”
She continued, “It was as if it [poetry] chose me.”
Her muse for the past 30 years? The Hudson River.
“I’m very inspired by our area because I can see the Hudson River from my apartment, and it’s a moving landscape,” said Boss, who added that the boats, skyscrapers, and everyday lives of those across the river are a constant source of inspiration when writing.
“It just seems to occur to me, almost like an epiphany” said Boss, “It’s almost as if the muse lands on my shoulder.”
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.