Bill Sullivan is professor emeritus, Keene State College, NH, where he taught courses in American literature and American studies. He is a co-author of Modern American Poetry and Containing Multitudes: Poetry in the United States since 1950. He also co-produced, "Here Am I," a documentary film on the life of Jonathan Daniels, a slain civil rights worker.
He resides in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Bill's recent book, Loon Lore: Poetry and Prose, is available from Bauhan Publishing.
► Bill's Origami microchaps & selected poems are available below.
Cover: Dark Petals
by Lauri Burke
Every Origami Micro-chapbook
may be printed, for free,
from this website.
2. Holding on
The roller coaster car inches up
the steep hill. Our eyes question
blue skies. Hands linked, we anticipate
the terrifying thrill. But as we reached
the apex and viewed the wrenching
drop, our stomachs groaned, our hearts
shook. Then gravity and machinery
shot us down. Took our breath away
as we loosened our grip on the lap bar,
then grasped each other, inseparable
we thought until you and so many
more were no more. Now I cling
to what remains-- out of love
and fear. Hold on tight
until my knuckles turn white.
Bill Sullivan © 2016
Pick A Color
The single-minded ones
demand that we choose:
the red rose or the white
rose, black or white skin,
blue or grey cloth, green
or orange flag.
We could join the fray,
watch the colors clash
hear the swords clang
and the rifles ring,
sniff the cannon’s smoke
feel between our fingers
the blood soaked soil.
Or we could sit and sink
into Rothko’s rectangles and bands
painted in colors no clan can claim,
in hues and shadings that whisper
our shared sensibilities: tragedy
and doom beauty and ecstasy.
Bill Sullivan © 2011
Oil Spill: RI, 1/19/96
When the oil barge and tug were grounded
off Moonlight Beach, the officials said there
was no leakage. But in Wakefield oil, carried
by the gale force winds, clung to storefront
windows, windshields and clothes. When they
claimed it was under control, the oil, churned
by wind and sea, had penetrated the salt ponds,
had sullied Block Island, Long Island Sound…
The grim biologist is on a beachhead strewn
with the dead and dying: lobsters, mollusks
star fish , fingerlings and flounder, grebes,
and mergansers. In her oily hands she cradles
a loon. If he could open his eyes their redness
would dazzle you. If he could sound out his
plight, the song would haunt you. If it were
yesterday, he would have dove deep for you,
but today you count and curse the cost of oil.
mooblock=Haiku No. I.
Young sparrow splashing.
Straw-yellow grass fast dying.
Bird bath Buddha smiling.
Bill Sullivan © 2009
On The Seventh Evening
On the seventh evening
at this roadside pond
ringed with scarlet lupine
and blazing goldenrod,
we see the blue
heron amidst the green-
leafed white lilies.
On the road above
a car speeds northward.
Its lights burning dimly
in the dusk. The
night rises; covers
the heron, the pond;
reveals another way home.