If life is like a box of chocolates, as someone once observed, then Daniel Bosch has just located the Godiva truffles. In September, Bosch, 36, a writing instructor at Harvard, beat out 1,600 other contestants to win the first annual poetry contest (and a $1,000 prize) sponsored by the prestigious Boston Review. His winning entries, a quartet of poems written in 1997: “Philadelphia Starring Tom Hanks,” “Big Starring Tom Hanks,” “Apollo 13 Starring Tom Hanks” and “Forrest Gump Starring Tom Hanks.”
The titles, Bosch admits, are a bit of Tomfoolery, meant to attract readers to abstract poems having little to do with the films. Bosch (who doesn’t own a TV) respects Hanks as an actor but calls Gump “a bad film” and only caught Apollo 13 on an airplane, minus headphones. “I have a feeling I didn’t miss very much,” he says. But, he notes, “Tom Hanks is going to be remembered.”
Which is what Bosch wants as well. “I’ve been doing one thing for 30 years—writing poetry,” he says. “I don’t have many things I care so much about.” Growing up in Los Altos, Calif., he began scribbling rhymes at age 5 “as a way of coping with stress.” Son of an insurance salesman, the only one of six children to graduate from college, he earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University in 1991 and joined Harvard’s faculty last year.
Bosch, who is separated from his wife, shares an on-campus apartment with daughter Michaela, 5. “She loves rhyming games,” he says. “We have a strong bond over language.” He might want to consider using some of that prize money to buy a TV. After all, Saving Private Ryan should be on cable soon.