Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

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Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

DR. GARY M. BOUCHARD

(Professor of English, former Chair of Department, Saint Anselm College) 

Gary M. Bouchard graduated from LUC in 1988 with a PhD in English. Regarding his education at LUC, Dr. Bouchard reminiscences, "I am grateful that in the 1980’s Loyola still required a foundation in Old English/Beowulf, Linguistics/History of the English Language. This foundation has served me to this day. The trendy deconstructionist theories that marked those years were distracting and disruptive to the things we ought to have been learning better." He has been based at Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, New Hampshire for thirty-one years, and served from 1998-2003 as the College's Executive Vice President. Besides serving as a Professor of English in the department, specializing in Early Modern lyric and narrative poetry, he has just completed a five-year term as Department Chair and has been appointed as the founding Executive Director of the Gregory Grappone Humanities Institute at the College, a role he maintains while serving on the boards of various local and scholastic institutions. Dr. Bouchard states, "For over three decades Saint Anselm has afforded me the opportunity for joyful teaching, active scholarship, significant leadership, valuable mentoring, cherished collegiality, and occasional writing and publishing of poetry. I have published numerous articles and two books, but by far I would count my greatest accomplishment as the daily engagement in the lives of young people in and out of the classroom, helping to bring them to a deeper appreciation of poetry, of the great writers who have preceded us, of the contemporary culture that surrounds us, and of their own capacities to write and communicate orally. I have been blessed with a trinity of overlapping vocations: husband, father, teacher. May they continue as long as my health allows."

Acknowledging the difficulties graduates face on the hiring market after achieving degrees in English, Dr. Bouchard asserts that he has interviewed over a hundred job candidates in MLA hiring rooms. He says, "I have been so impressed with the quality of the intellect and the academic preparation of the candidates.  I have always come away humbled and sad, knowing that we would ultimately be able to hire one person." For students seeking advice on how best to prepare for the job search, he advises, "A strong and sensible command of primary texts is infinitely more valuable in the long run than any theory.  Of course, be willing to move anywhere. Do not restrict yourself too tightly within the confines of a specialty.  Most of academe relies upon generalists with a broad and generous intellect, humility, and dexterity.  I came into the profession as a Spenserian, migrated after 5 years of full-time administrative service into a scholar of Robert Southwell and the English Recusancy.  But I have also published on Donne, Hopkins, and some contemporary poets, and developed a successful on-line course on Robert Frost taped on location at the places he lived and worked in New Hampshire.  Quickest advice: Be prepared to say with cheer and without angst-ridden hesitation: 'Yes, I can do that.'"

Dr. Bouchard treasures the memories of several landmarks in the Chicago and LUC area, most importantly declaring that he pledged lifelong fealty to the Cubs long before their recent World Series triumph! He says, "I came to Chicago from out west and it kicked the stuffing out of me before I learned how to love it, and to love the CUBS, which I raised my children to do as well. Isn’t that enough. It remains my favorite city in this country. I lived in Uptown for my 5 years of grad school, and a couple of years ago my younger son lived in Chicago for a year pursuing a Masters at the Medill School of Journalism. When I visited him I was delighted to discover that my old haunts were mostly intact and unchanged: Cuneen’s on Devon (still cash only?  Seriously?), The Heartland Café (nobody tell them the 60’s are over), The Green Mill (I participated in the original poetry slams—shhhhhh!), and the tiny Vietnamese restaurant on Argyle Street where my wife and I had our first date." He concludes, generously: "I am available for conversation and mentoring to Loyola grad students any time. GO RAMBLERS!"

Besides publishing essays on a variety of early modern authors including Edmund Spenser, Phineas Fletcher, William Alabaster, Robert Southwell, George Herbert, Thomas Traherne and John Milton, Dr. Bouchard has also published several articles on the nineteenth century poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. His book, Colin's Campus: Cambridge Life and the English Eclogue was published by Associated University Presses in 2000. His current research interest is the poetry of the English Recusancy, specifically the work of Robert Southwell. He is presently working to complete a book on Southwell's influence on seventeenth century poets.