William Doreski Interview

“E-readers are not books.”

William Doreski


Coffin Bell: Introduce yourself / short bio / photo.

William Doreski: I’m a retired college professor who grew up in Connecticut, lived and went to school in Boston, worked in computers for a while before teaching at Emerson College. Later moved to New Hampshire, taught at Keene State College for a long time. I’ve published poetry, criticism, and fiction in many journals. I have also published three scholarly-critical books and several collections of poetry.

CB: What got you started writing?

WD: I complained to a high school teacher that anyone could write the kind of poetry that E.E. Cummings wrote. He said, “Try it,” and I did. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, Intrigued, I stuck with the problem for the next half-century or so.

CB: What is the most rewarding aspect of writing?

WD: The satisfaction of feeling everything click into place—when that happens.

CB: Do you have a designated space for writing? Tell us about it.

WD: I remodeled my garage to house an anti-social cat, then moved my work space in with the cat.  It isn’t fancy, just a homemade work table for computer and printer, and a library cart full of books.

CB: Are you a planner or a pantser? Tell us a bit about your writing practices.

WD: What the hell is a “pantser”? Sound obscene. I hope I’m not one. I just sit down and write. I plan some things that I write, reviews and essays, but poems?—I just place one word after another.

CB: What advice to new and emerging writers could you give?

WD: Just read a lot and write every day, even if you don’t produce much on a given day.

CB: Who are your influences?

WD: I’ve learned that writers usually lie about influences, so I’d rather not say. I like reading Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, Alan Dugan, Marianne Moore, and about a thousand other poets. I wrote two books about Robert Lowell, if that means anything.

CB: Physical books or e-readers?

WD: E-readers are not books. Books are bound paper and the height of civilization. E-books are for people who don’t really read but just scan texts. I observed over the years how poorly students do with E-books.

CB: If you could give a PSA to journal editors, what would it be?

WD: What is a PSA besides prostate-specific antigen test? I think I’ll leave that to their physicians.

CB: Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. Tell us about your fears.

WD: I fear going broke in old age and falling from a terrible height. I fear Republicans and their insatiable greed for power and cold cash. I fear drowning and the silence at the bottom of the sea.

CB: What draws you to dark fiction?

WD: Lovecraft, Poe, M.R. James, many other writers. They offer a satisfying vision of the underbelly of existence.

CB: How does the darkness in your piece enhance the work?

WD: It IS the work.

CB: Tell us about your book / publication / web site / promotion.

WD: I have always been a complete failure at promoting my work and have no website. I have a blog at williamdoreski.blogspot.com.


Read William Doreski’s Too Many Screams,” “The Underbelly Exposed,” “The Zombie Moment,” “The Skull of Mozart,” and “Dispirits” in Issue 1.1 of Coffin Bell Journal!