By Emilee Eustis Contributing Writer
Zackary Lavoie is a pickleball master, a heavenly singer, the owner of a guinea pig named Gerald, and now a pu-
blished writer. The UMF graduate is making waves in the business of poetry writing with his recently released chapbook Upheavals.
Though Lavoie majored in English, his interest has always been in poetry. “I find a lot of beauty in the brevity of [poetry],” said Lavoie. “It forces one to read intensely, and I think that is a great thing.”
Today, Lavoie works as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Specialist Editor for a global platform and edits documents for those whose language is not primarily English. But when Lavoie is not editing, he is feverishly working on his poetry.
During Lavoie’s time at UMF, he was awarded with the Alice James Books Director’s Chair Fellowship, which gave the benefits of working one-on-one with publishers to strengthen his skills. Like many successful writers, Lavoie’s publication did not come without struggles.
“Grammar plays a different sort of role in the book. Capitalization, spacing, and even spelling all shift and wobble, and letting that happen is difficult,” Lavoie said, “Sort of like holding the leash of an angry, out of control, ten-thousand-pound dog.”
Through his journey, Lavoie has made many connections to remind him that the struggles are worth the outcome. “I’ve been lucky enough to meet some really wonderful poets, editors, and other incredibly influential folks while writing Upheavals,” said Lavoie. After two years of meeting and greeting, long editing processes, and publication work, Lavoie’s chapbook Upheavals has made it to print – but his work does not end there.
Lavoie has much to celebrate, but he understands that work cannot always be perfect. Lavoie quickly learned that it is easy to become “to
o poetic” and let a poem become bigger than it should.
“It’s important to remember to be observant, and sometimes that means narrowing your focus to little moments,” Lavoie said. But Lavoie also realizes the boundaries that poetry can challenge, and said, “It’s our jobs as poets to translate it.”
Lavoie has poems online and in print in Empty Mirror Magazine, OCCULUM Journal and Dirty Paws Poetry Review, with his next piece waiting to be published in the Longleaf Review. As for more books, Lavoie said he has a manuscript for a full length that is being worked on, but it is “still in infancy.”
On April 12th, Lavoie will be attending a reading at the Farmington Public Library with Jeffrey Thomson, a UMF poet and professor, and another UMF grad, Audrey Gidman.
Copies of Lavoie’s chapbook can be purchased online at Amazon, online and in-stores at Barnes & Noble, at the Farmington Public Library, and on his website zackarylavoie.com.