Featured Poet: William Doreski, Keene
William (Bill) Doreski, Professor of English, Keene State College (New Hampshire) teaches creative writing, literary theory, and modern poetry. Born in Connecticut, he lived in Boston, Cambridge, and Arlington, MA for many years, attended various colleges, and received a Ph.D. from Boston University. After teaching at Goddard, Harvard, and Emerson colleges, he came to Keene State in 1982. He has published several collections of poetry, most recently Sacra Via (Tatlock Publications, 2005) and Another Ice Age (Cedar Hill, 2006), and three critical studies The Years of Our Friendship: Robert Lowell and Allen Tate (University Press of Mississippi, 1990), and The Modern Voice in American Poetry (University Press of Florida, 1995), Robert Lowell Shifting Colors (Ohio University Press, 1999) -- and a textbook entitled How to Read and Interpret Poetry (Prentice-Hall).
His critical essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many academic and literary journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Yale Review, African American Review, and Natural Bridge. Of the poem Bill's chosen for the showcase, he writes:
Every summer I teach a basic course in poetry writing at Keene State College. We draft poems, based on assigned exercises during class time, then revise them to discuss at the following class meeting. I took the class downtown to sit somewhere and observe the street life around them and write a poem based on something they saw. This is my response to my own exercise. I saw a couple of young girls sitting in the gazebo in the square smoking a joint, and noted the trash blowing around, and thought, 'What if instead of trash, those are important messages going unread?'
Letters from God to Keene
Today as I walk to the square
I find letters from God dropped
in the street where retired old men
stoop to read them but fail
because the light’s so drab and frozen.
The bandstand gloats like a tombstone
as three girls smoking marijuana
watch the traffic circle the park.
God’s letters drift around them,
but they’re too giggly to pause and read
the good or bad news of their lives.
I’d wave and wish them luck but
they’d think me too old to flirt
with such lurid young creatures;
so I stagger to the pastry shop
and order coffee and donuts
and listen to heavyset workmen
complain that the letters from God
are harder to read every year,
the prickle of his holograph
like cataracts scratching their eyes.