Donelle Dreese is an author and Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. She teaches multicultural and environmental literatures, American women poets, and writing courses. Her books include Cave Walker (Moon Willow Press), Sophrosyne (Aldrich Press), Deep River Burning (WiDo Press), Dragonflies in the Cowburbs (Anaphora Literary Press), A Wild Turn (Finishing Line), Looking for a Sunday Afternoon (Pudding House), America’s Natural Places: East and Northeast (ABC-CLIO), and Ecocriticism: Creating Self and Place in American Indian and Environmental Literatures (Peter Lang). In April of 2019, Donelle received the Excellence in Online or Technology Enhanced Teaching Award at Northern Kentucky University.
Donelle’s latest poetry manuscript, Organelle, was named a finalist for the 2018 Louise Bogan Award by Trio House Press. Organelle also received Honorable Mention in the 2018 Hopper Poetry Prize. Here’s the review:
Organelle has a shell-like nature: intricate, inviting, dense, clever, fractal, winding, neat, and tinged with the sinister. As with any sound poetics, Dreese digs into ethics and power with a steady hand over three parts: The Carson Poems, Organelle, and The Swallow Experiment. Her title poem, “Organelle,” insists “This is about getting to know each other / again as a planetary imperative / a cell membrane circling a globe / worlds within worlds […]” In fact, it is a kind of “planetary imperative” that seems to drive the collection itself, in which Dreese moves through invocations, suggestions, pleas, and imperatives of every sort: “Go where words and clover / converge”; “Let’s call them ‘apples’”; “I need you to know how much I cradle / this flower” . . . their tones always weighing the nature of desire in its many shapes. A revisionist and speculative muscle courses and flexes throughout, celebrating women of science in all of their complex vitality, including and especially their vitality after death, and sometimes in their obscurity. These poems carry you along: they are wet and always moving. Organelle is a refreshing and sensual inquiry along the queer ecotones of words and things, abstract and material, aquatic and terrestrial, blues and browns, woman and ghost, this body and the next.
—Anna Mullen, The Hopper Poetry Editor