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

—Robert Krulwich, NPR’s Radiolab


Thomas was interviewed about Trespass and his work as Artistic Director of Emotive Fruition on Art Works, the National Endowment for the Arts’ podcast:

Click to listen.




Trespass by Thomas Dooley
Purchase Trespass


“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 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