“Thomas Dooley is the hub of a whole universe.”

—Robert Krulwich, NPR’s Radiolab

New poems:

“Abraham and Isaac” published by Academy of American Poets for its Poem-a-Day series, February 2017.

“Ballad of Lieutenant Tom Dooley, 1955” (Pushcart Prize nomination) published in Duende, Fall 2016.

“Ballad, 1960” published in Duende, Fall 2016.

“Prodigal” published in Washington Square Review, Fall 2016.

“Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us” (Pushcart Prize nomination) published in Washington Square Review, Fall 2016.

“St. Gertrude’s” published by Poetry Society of America, Fall 2016.

“Passage” published in the Poem-a-Day series by the Academy of American Poets, Fall 2015.


Trespass by Thomas Dooley
Purchase Trespass

Thomas Dooley is the author of Trespass, a National Poetry Series selection. His poetry, collaborations and interviews have appeared widely, most notably on NPR, Poets & Writers, Academy of American Poets and “PBS NewsHour.” A practitioner of narrative medicine, Thomas is the founder of SURGE, a magazine publishing the poetry and stories of hospitalized teens and has presented internationally on the subject of pediatric illness narratives. As Founding Artistic Director of Emotive Fruition, a New York-based collective of poets and actors, he has created live performances of poetry for New York audiences and was recently featured on NPR’s hit show Radiolab. A member of the creative writing faculty at New York University, Thomas lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY.


“In these jumpy, surprising poems, Thomas Dooley treads fearlessly as he reveals the submerged secrets of a family and gives utterance to the erotic pleasures and pains of love. Trespass is an intense, eye-opening debut.” —Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States

“Pierces and heals simultaneously….Trespass sings the music of now, shaped on the lathe of experience, and through the pleasures of physical knowledge, revelatory imagery, and imagination, this collection transports us.” —Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize winning poet

“Tender, nuanced, angry, and answerless, Dooley’s poems concerning his father and aunt are a brief testament to the power of writing about tragedy and taboo with empathy and disbelief.”Publisher’s Weekly 

“Dooley’s moving first book of poems is this year’s National Poetry Series winner selected by poet Charlie Smith. Dooley’s new voice is a full, grand-sweeping appraisal of the banalities that domestic life has to offer. And while the revealing of such triteness might seem dark and empty on occasion, Dooley’s delicate, interweaving language affords the reader a new glimpse at every turn. Divided into three sections, with just over 50 poems, this frankly and openly erotic collection brings readers to the streets of the neighborhood and the home’s closets, where family members are exposed to sexual releases and punishments. The titular poem offers, “her voice her full life her adultness / and you touch her for six months touch her / around the house now touch the great / span and for once let her touch a man.” Dooley plays with form throughout, but his knowledge of the sensual is captured in a book that puts us where we don’t belong, but where we want to go. A masterful debut.” — Mark Eleveld, Booklist

“As in Louise Glück’s work, the hell is domestic, and there is something equally astringent about Dooley’s touch, yet underneath the scalpel is something wounded and lush.In parsing a psychology of familial trauma and repression, Trespass leaves not the tracks of a wounded animal, but of a clever and deliberate scavenger.”  — Jerome Murphy, Lambda Literary

“Poems written in sharp-edged, flowing, mostly unpunctuated lines demand to be reflected upon and savored. Discover: An auspicious debut by a poet whose collection reads like a poetic autobiography, filled with love, loss and pain and exquisite memories.” — Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

“In many ways, we have an ideal first book here. There are intimations of crackling range and depth well suited to the task at hand, dredging and redredging calcified shocks and crises with singular focus. It serves beautifully as a model to rectify adolescent self-seriousness, even as it archetypically channels the serious in the course of its investigations. In other words: young poets could learn to read through Trespass, to observe, to imprint, and ultimately to write through their own hurt. Perhaps it’s best to regard Dooley’s debut apophatically, however. It neither prescribes nor censures nor condones nor saves; such is the discoverable quality of the text, of what it becomes. Nevertheless it ought to be read.” — Peter Longofono, Coldfront

“Trespass is a book not to be read at random. For Dooley, Trespass needs a reading period less fragmented. It calls for a dedicated space and time to enter the consciousness of our poet. You are introduced to him by way of “Cherry Tree” before you sit down for a three-act play. Allow yourself an intermission, but the tension is real and the body craves resolution.” — Craig Moreau, Bookslut

“As with all good poems, there’s not a wasted syllable here, and the image burnishes with repeated readings.” — The Star-Ledger


“Maybe in an Atlas” and “Cherry Tree”  from Trespass are published with an interview on PBS NewsHour.

“Aunt Peggy” from Trespass is published with an interview on PBS NewsHour.

“Cedar Closet: 1955” is on Poetry Daily.

“I Could Let You Go” was selected by the Academy of American Poets for their Poem-A-Day series.

“First Love” from Trespass was featured on jbdrecords for National Poetry Month.

“Cherry Tree” from Trespass originally appeared in The Cortland Review.

Featured in Poets & Writers.

Interviewed by John Rafferty on the Graduate Writing Studies blog of Saint Joseph’s University.