An Interview With Heath Brougher

by Scott Thomas Outlar

Heath Brougher
Heath Brougher lives in York, PA and attended Temple University. He is the co-poetry editor of Into the Void Magazine which won the 2017 Saboteur Award for Best Magazine. Heath has also received a Best of the Net Nomination as well as edited the anthology Luminous Echoes, the proceeds of which will be donated to Pieta House in Ireland which is an organization that helps prevent suicide/self-harm. Heath has published 4 books: A Curmudgeon is Born, Digging for Fire, Your Noisy Eyes, and About Consciousness. Although he has been writing his entire life, he didn't begin to submit his work for publication until three years ago at the age of thirty-four. Since then his work has appeared in over 450 different journals in 25 countries Heath has also read his work internationally and been a Featured Reader in many U.S. cities. When not writing he helps with the charity Paws Soup Kitchen which gives out free dog/cat food to low income families with pets.
Scott Thomas Outlar: Your latest book, About Consciousness, was recently published by Alien Buddha Press. Can you tell us what inspired this collection?

Heath Brougher: I have spoken about Consciousness in my three previous books, so a collection such as this was kind of inevitable. Also, since my other books had titles that were a bit vague, I thought I'd just be really blunt and title this one "About Consciousness." I also just liked the ring of that title. It's inspired by what most of my writing is inspired by: a philosophical interest in the world/Universe/Multiverse and especially the other possible stages of Sentience which could simultaneously exist in our current state of Consciousness, as well as an eternal curiosity of what the next stage of Sentience could possibly be.

STO: What other books of yours are currently available?

HB: My debut chapbook A Curmudgeon is Born was published in June of 2016 by Yellow Chair Press, my second and third books, Digging for Fire and Your Noisy Eyes were both published by Stay Weird and Keep Writing Press, and  my fourth book, About Consciousness was published by Alien Buddha Press

STO: Much of your work focuses on the individual’s search for truth in this world. Has this intense pursuit always played a pivotal role in your life?

HB: I think so. I've always kind of been the quiet outsider and since I had no herd to follow I was allowed to explore my own Individuality much more than most people, whom are usually enveloped by what I call "the Mainstream Thought" and end up living out their lives as mindless robotic slaves to these insane Manmade Realities which pollute our societies. So, in that sense, I think I'm much more "Individualized" than most people. This, of course, also means that I am much more misunderstood by most people.

STO: Why do you write poetry? Has your perception of the art changed any since you began publishing?

HB: I've always written. I've got the twenty years-worth of notebooks to prove it. My perception of it has, of course, changed as I've gotten older, though there has been a seismic shift in the way I view poetry since I began publishing. Now that I've seen the rampant corruption and cronyism of the lit world I feel like I need to level the playing field as best I can to make sure the voices that should be getting heard are getting a fair chance. I still hang onto the belief that I must never allow myself to become pigeonholed. I don't necessarily believe in "finding my voice" like most poets say you have to do. I care much more about finding the Truth and then projecting that out into the world in whatever particular style or way of writing it happens to come out of me through.

STO: You don’t only publish, but are also quite active in performing at live events. What have been some of your more memorable readings so far?

HB: Well, I began doing readings after my first chapbook was published in order to help the press with sales and found a local scene in York and surrounding areas where I met some amazing people like Carla Christopher and Nancy Yeager. I've done a couple readings in England and several other U.S. cities. I did one recently for Josh Dale's Forty West Publishing that was special because I was able to finally meet him and, of course, YOU. Lol. I recently saw Heller Levinson read in NYC which was a Truly mind-blowing experience, and I, personally, didn't read a single word at all during that reading. If people haven't read the works of Heller Levinson, Felino Soriano, Alan Britt, Duane Locke, or Matt Duggan, then they better buck up and get to it because the stuff these poets are currently writing is the work that will ultimately be remembered by history and today's children will be reading in college.

STO: Into the Void won best magazine in the 2017 Saboteur Awards. What is your role at this venue, and where do you see the magazine heading in the future?

HB: I am the co-poetry editor at Into the Void and so very proud to be one of the four editors of this amazing magazine put together by the brilliant Phillip Elliott, who is only 24 years old and I believe to be one of the brightest burning up-and-coming stars in the lit world. The fact that we won this award after only four issues is a testament to reading blind. That's something I feel very strongly about and I believe all magazines should be doing. Instead, you have your usual cronyism and corruption running amok in the lit world. I think Into the Void has the potential to become as important of a magazine as it wants. We've been listed in Poets & Writers Magazine as one of the "nine new journals of 2016 which you MUST read" so I think the sky is the limit with Into the Void Magazine and I can't wait to see how far we take it.

STO: Do you have any other projects at the moment that you’re particularly excited about?

HB: As I usually say, I was 20 years late to the party since I didn't begin submitting my life's work for publication until I was thirty-four years old (three years ago). I've already written 60 books (and counting since I keep finding new ones in the 20 years-worth of duffel bags filled with notebooks) that all just need typed up and edited, not to mention the uncountable number of notebooks filled with writing. What I'm most excited about, though, is that I recently submitted my first book of what I call Spiralism to a certain press I really like and am waiting to hear back from. This is a unique style of writing that I've been developing as far back as age seventeen. This first book of Spiralism is the mot important book I have yet to put together. So, that's what I'm mostly excited about concerning my own work. If this book is rejected, then I will be spending my days looking for other quality presses with the guts to try something new and publish it.

STO: What expectations do you have for your work during the rest of 2017 and into the years ahead?

HB: As I said, hopefully getting my first book of Spiralism published. That's my number one priority right now. Also, continuing to try new things and of course to keep Spiraling Out! Thank you for the interview, my friend. Selah!

Heath Brougher has published four books and his work has appeared in over 450 journals in 25 countries. Here are my thoughts on his books:

I had this to say about his debut, A Curmudgeon is Born, when I reviewed it:
This world is not what it seems. This universe is not what we thought. Heath Brougher asks/demands that humanity stop lying to itself about the nature of time and space. To break away from the shackles of eternally looping cycles, Brougher suggests aligning with the rhythms of an evolving as to tap into the only essence of reality that matters in the end: Truth. Brougher's intensely deep debut collection is a dance through consciousness, language, music, and perception. Keep both eyes open. Keep all minds open. "A Curmudgeon Is Born" is a blast into the future.

His second book was a limited edition printing titled Digging for Fire and was actually a short 15-page precursor to his third book Your Noisy Eyes, both published by Stay Weird and Keep Writing Press. Your Noisy Eyes has a much more metaphysical approach to it than his debut. There are two running themes within the book, both on the philosophical side. One of the metaphysical themes is that there is a bomb buried deep within the Earth and a wick which has run in coils throughout human history, every day inching closer to the bomb itself, which humanity needs to find and extinguish before detonation. There is a sense of urgency to find the wick and smother it or else face absolute destruction. The bomb is symbolic of nonexistence and Brougher throws many questions at what this state just might be like. The other theme is less pronounced and concerns the eye as humanity's primary means of perception and survival. He ponders and throws questions galore upon this idea as well. He wonders just how much truth there is in what we see with our own eyes and whether or not we can actually trust what we see. His main concern, though, is not wanting to experience "an entire lifetime spent walking in the wrong direction."

His fourth,book, About Consciousness, was recently released from Alien Buddha Press and contains some very thought provoking poems alongside some amazing artwork by Red Focks. The very first poem of this book is concerned with God and just how "Inhumane" it seems to be. Heath then begins to give the reasons why he considers himself a Pantheist in the following poems. This book is poetry blended with philosophy dealing with consciousness itself as well as the various states of it which it can be experienced.

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Scott serves as an editor for The Peregrine Muse and Novelmasters.

Heath Brougher's book are available on at 

A Curmudgeon is Born (Yellow Chair Press)

Digging for Fire (Stay Weird and Keep Writing Press)
Your Noisy Eyes (Stay Weird and Keep Writing Press)
About Consciousness (Alien Buddha Press)

All of these books can be found at:

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