Dr. William C. “Liam” Corley
Associate Professor of English
“Poetry’s compact form and evident claims to significance satisfied
both my hunger for meaning and my impatience with triviality. . . .
My writing style, so well adapted to scholarly work, seemed
inadequate for a new world of military experience. The ensuing
silence did not indicate a lack of thought or analytical insight;
its source lay deep in my writing psyche, quietly swelling a rising
pool of conflicted linguistic codes, drowning out speech with the
suffocating immediacy of immersive experience. I turned to verse,
then, as a breathing apparatus, clenching poems in my teeth as tools
enabling me to dive beneath the surface of language to the element
of voice that had undergone such a wrenching transformation during
my deployment. Poetry focused my ear on the struggle to combine the unpretentious and direct speech of a veteran with the academic modes of expression in which much of my philosophy and analytical approach were embedded. The challenge of reconciling these voices, so starkly visible in the oscillation between narration and assessment within a poem, surfaced for me a fundamental blockage I faced in my long-deferred return to scholarly writing: if I knew how to speak, I’d know what to say . For a poet, style and substance, expression and content, differ no more than syllable from sound. How to speak and what to say : safety catch and firing pin.” from “Brave Words”: Rehabilitating the Veteran Writer” College English 74.4 2012)
Recent Creative Publications
“Getting the Good News” (fiction) in Incoming Ed. Justin Hudnall. San Diego, CA: So Say We All Press, 2015.
Interview and story also featured on KPBS on May 8, 2015.
“Terminal Leave” (poetry) in First Things 248 (December 2014): 31.
"Intelligence Report" and "Father Jacob Gets His Limp" (poetry) in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors. Vol. 3.
Ed. Susan Swartwout. Cape Girardeau, MO: Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2014. 154-55.
“At the Children’s Hospital” (poetry) Second place, Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine; in The Hippocrates
Prize 2013. Ed. M.W. Hulse and D.R.J. Singer, London, UK: Hippocrates Press, 2013. 43.
"Watching Our Back" (poetry) in Badlands 3 (2012): 117.
"Care Package" and "Something Else You Don't Need" (poetry) in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors. Ed.
Susan Swartwout. Cape Girardeau, MO: Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012. 146-47.
“Unwound” (poetry); Finalist, 2011 Chautauqua Institute Poetry Contest; in Chautauqua 9 (2012): 203-04.