Faculty poetry showcased

Keene State College has faculty specializing in hundreds of fields; from music to business, there’s a professor for everybody on our campus. Here at the Equinox we like to highlight those professors who go above and beyond and bring their talents to light. 

Kathleen Fagley, an adjunct faculty member, is the focus of this week. Fagley is a member of the English department who specializes in creative writing and writes her own poetry.

Fagley said she is a latecomer to the world of poetry, as she began writing seriously in 2000 after joining a critique group in Dublin, New Hampshire. There, she met other Keene State faculty members who wrote poetry as well and received her MFA from New England College shortly after.

When asked about where she draws inspiration from, Fagley quoted the world-renowned American poet William Stafford: “If you look straight at it, you can’t see it, but if you look a little to one side it is there.”

“A solitary Canada goose flying overhead inspires me, life events, small things like the three ovals of light at the local YMCA above me while I am doing sit-ups, a lobsterman on 9/11 checking his lobster traps; it is various and unpredictable,” said Fagley.

Fagley went on to explain that it is difficult to write about the state of the world and the current pandemic it is dealing with, but she is confident that once it is over there will be something that catches her eye and writing about this will become easier.

In her poem “Low Countries,” Fagley draws inspiration specifically from American painter Winslow Homer’s paintings of the fishwives of Cullercoats, England. The poem brings about the sensation of standing over the ocean on a wet marsh ground, smelling the salt as it sprays off the rocks, observing fishermen working tirelessly on the beaches.

Fagley explained that her poems like “Low Countries” are examples of ekphrastic poetry, poetry written in response to works of art. Fagley said every gesture a writer makes in their work is a push to evoke some feeling from the reader, good or bad.

“What I am ultimately searching for in writing the poem is making a connection with my reader, who will hopefully feel the same emotions I felt while writing the poem,” said Fagley.

Another poem written by Fagley is titled “The Superb Lyrebird Is Off His Continent.” Fagley explains that the vivid imagery is her way of expressing what she saw in a room of sculpture in a Danish museum.

“I found the juxtaposition of a brass lyrebird and a Roman sarcophagus to be as strange as the Australian bird’s name,” said Fagley.

Another poem in focus from Fagley is titled “What the Water Gave Me.” The subject of the poem comes from a painting done by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. The image is full of strange and surrealistic details in a nature setting, which Fagley says transformed her work in her self-portrait for the painting.

More of Fagley’s published poems can be found at www.connotationpress.com by searching “Kathleen Fagley” in the search box. Keep an eye out for more staff and faculty poets to be featured in the Equinox.


Alex Dube can be reached at




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