Poetry in Motion: Doreen Gildroy

Nicole Del Castillo/Photography Intern



The UC Irvine English Department welcomed John C. Zacharias First Book Award winner and Robert Frost Fellow in Poetry Doreen Gildroy for selected readings of her poetry this past Wednesday.


Doreen Gildroy received her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College and has been publishing her works in major publications since the 1990s. In 2002 she published her first book-length poetry in her book “The Little Field of Self.” Based upon a poem she had previously published in 2005, she published her second book “Human Love.”


When asked of her career, the poet was quite humbly said that she was lucky to have been able to use the way she expresses herself to make her living. Gildroy has been featured in such prestigious publications as the American Poetry Review, Volt, and TriQuarterly.


UCI English professor Michelle Latiolais introduced Gildroy’s works with high praise.


“[In Gildroy’s poetry] there is a resolve so quiet it borders on faith, and decidedly isn’t,” Latiolais said.


Those who came to listen seemed to agree with Professor Latiolais. One student, Cari Cane, hadn’t read the poet’s works until a only a few hours before.


According to Gildroy, her books are series of poems, laced together with common themes that interconnect to create a story.


“My works are largely autobiographical,” Gildroy said about her two published books.


Her most recent work, and that which Gildroy devoted the most time to during her reading relays the struggle of a woman’s inability to get pregnant and the resulting infertility treatments.


“[Her poems] transcend the language they are made with,” Professor Latiolais said.


Based upon the marked silence throughout the reading, the audience seemed to agree.


One notable thing about the reading of Gildroy’s poetry, the difference in the tone in which it is read. Not only is it distinctly different from the tone one reads most poetry aloud, it is distinctly different from the way she herself speaks conversationally.


Gildroy utilizes a few, specific tones that she repeats from phrase to phrase; this cycling acts as a coupling for each half of a thought.


When asked of this, Gildroy laughed, and commented that it was a frequent question.


“It’s just how I hear it in my head when I’m reading it — when I’m writing it,” she said of the almost melodic tone.


Cane, among other audience members, liked the unique reading style  used.


“Her voice comes through the same way on the paper, which was pretty cool since it’s so different,” she noted.


Gildroy’s works are generally created in fantastical places. Receiving the Robert Frost Fellowship in Poetry granted her the opportunity to live in Robert Frost’s farmhouse in Vermont to create her works.


Her first book-length poetic work, “The Little Field of Self,” was written in a castle she lived with her husband for one of his fellowships.


Nevertheless, Gildroy finds a way to maintain the essence of her poetry whether created at home in California or in more exotic locations.


Near the end of the event, the audience was treated to Gildroy reading excerpts of her most current work: a book of poetry in triplets.


The audience had the same reaction: sheer awe. There remained an utter silence until the poem’s stop, at which point the applause exploded instantaneously.


It was as though they were waiting to show their appreciation, and this, their first and only moment.