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Mist in Their Eyes

Mist in Their Eyes


In his new book, William Doreski brilliantly blends wit, humor, and irony to chart our failed excursions to connect with others in the 21st century. Mist in Their Eyes 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.


— Jeff Friedman, author of Pretenders and Floating Tales.




Everything is alive in Doreski’s delightful poems. They take the time to see the small things of the 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 being going on.


— Matthew Rohrer, Hopwood Award-winning poet and Pushcart Prize recipient.




His are the poems of our complex, frequently uncomfortable humanity.


— Michael McIrvin in American Book Review

Mist in Their Eyes

70 poems by William Doreski

Cover Image: The Sphinx, 1890–1891, by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)

6” x 9” 117 pages


William Doreski grew up in Connecticut and lived in Boston, Cambridge, and Arlington (MA) for many years before moving to the wilds of New Hampshire. He attended various colleges, and after a certain amount of angst 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) — and a textbook, 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, Yale Review Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge, and many others.

Mist in Their Eyes sample poems

Trashing the Museum

After wasting a whole calm night

dreaming of thugs invading

and burning a famous museum,

I rise into pre-dawn dark,

yawning and stretching like Hades

fresh from gloom. How can I solve

my losses? The family murder,

the forced sale of my mother’s house,

my beautiful cousin deleted

by cancer, my youngest uncle’s heart

defeated by climbing a mountain

in Georgia. The stars prickle

like my whiskers. The moon has set

in a puddle of yellow slime.


Why should the chill spring cosmos

seem so personal? That dream

included me in a leading role.

I may even have started the fire.

Everyone I love and trust

assisted in ripping van Goghs

and Rembrandts, Homers and El Grecos

from the walls, smashing the frames

and heaping the mess in a hall

of tapestries. A single match

consigned the whole history of art

to ashes. But even the marble

burned, and the whole edifice fell

on our ugly screaming carcasses.


Why should I dream such a crime

when the stars seem intimate

and early peepers rhyme in chorus?

As I fully awaken, I smell

the smoke and soot on my hands,

and hope that’s from my woodstove

rather than from a dimension

where the moon never sets but dangles

like a hanged and guilty man.

Blue Chanterelles

An odor of sanctity hazes the leafless woods. Brooks freeze

along the fringe, a tonsured effect.


Rather than visiting your new condo with stainless kitchen,

skylight and white-tile bathroom, rather than sharing your cheap

Australian wine and noting your dozens of spiral notebooks

sprawled open to page after page of notes on nineteenth-century law,


I’m prowling for the last chanterelles of an elegant season, the frost

blooming in the fallen leaves and that holy hush of forest

compromised by the stitching of airplanes back and forth across

an otherwise unblemished sky.


The blue chanterelle shouldn’t occur so late, its fan-shaped caps

gloating on the pine forest floor like azure aflame in quartz.

Not the tastiest mushroom, but one I’m sure you’d envy

my finding deep in November while you pout at your computer

and e-mail your many lovers.


The odor of sanctity flavors the ancient leathery forest

and tickles my nose. But I know it doesn’t quite apply to me.

The blue fungi look up at me with typically snobbish expression

only you could effectively mock.

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