A Black River, A Dark Fall


PRE-ORDER: “In his sixth collection, Doreski brilliantly blends wit, humor, and irony to chart our failed excursions to connect with others in the 21st century.” — Jeff Friedman, author of Pretenders and Floating Tales


The poems in A Black River, a Dark Fall explore the moments when the imagination and the world outside ourselves overlap, clash, or infuse and inform each other. Although there are some surreal images or concepts, these aren’t dream-poems but are based in discernible landscapes, and often involve interactions with others whose imaginative lives conflict or complement the speaker’s. Setting and geography may reshape themselves to the speaker’s imaginative needs. Or conversely, the setting may force the speaker to confront himself in some uncomfortable way. Like other first-person lyric or meditative poems, these fictionalize autobiography to create a sense of immediacy. Most of them are written in a loose accentual meter, but some are prose poems, which may be read as a kind of journal entry, freer in associations and less rhetorically astringent than verse.

A man digitalizes himself in “brazen fireworks of pixels” and lives inside his cellphone…A dead uncle returns every Christmas to inspect his nephew’s house for defects in writing and plumbing…A man tells us that his former lover married a troll and named her child after a black hole at the edge of the cosmos…A woman counts the angels on a pinhead, but can’t hear them singing—in his sixth collection, Doreski brilliantly blends wit, humor, and irony to chart our failed excursions to connect with others in the 21st century. A Dark River contains wondrous turns and magical twists, but at the center of the collection is an intellect that is always questioning what the heart asks us to believe. A master of formal invention and surreal narrative, William Doreski has given us his finest collection.
— Jeff Friedman, author of Pretenders and Floating Tales

Everything is alive in Doreski’s poems — the sea turns its pages, the end of summer gathers its skirts, the rain speaks French. These delightful poems take the time to see the small things of this world, and they do it beautifully. I also love how he’s not afraid to poke the people around him with wry social needling. You’ll read this book and feel like you walked through your hometown wearing some kind of special glasses that let you see what’s always been going on.
— Matthew Rohrer, Hopwood Award-winning poet and Pushcart Prize recipient.

William Doreski was born in Connecticut, attended various colleges, and received a Ph.D. from Boston University.  He has published several collections of poetry and three critical studies—The Years of Our Friendship: Robert Lowell and Allen Tate (University Press of Mississippi, 1990), The Modern Voice in American Poetry (University Press of Florida, 1995), and Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors (Ohio University Press, 1999). His critical essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many academic and literary journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, River Styx, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Yale Review, Harvard Review, Worcester Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge.  He has taught at several colleges and universities, most recently Keene State College in New Hampshire. His poetry and fiction have won numerous awards, including the 2010 Aesthetica prize. He currently lives in New Hampshire.


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