ASK TIRESIAS! William Kulik in the APR


… to learn that a man has said or done a foolish thing is nothing; a man
must learn that he is nothing but a fool, a much more ample and important

“Woman in the red hat, second row…Those what?…Trojan war
heroes? What were they really like?…Glad you asked. I’ve always wanted to pull the plug on some of those guys—take Achilles: a brat and a whiner right down the line, like an NBA star who sulks if he can’t get everything he wants. And some patriot! Hiding out as a woman. Hero my ass. HE was the first draft-dodger,  like his buddy Odysseus, trying to prove he was an idiot to keep from going to war. What about who? Penelope? Was she faithful? That broad? Don’t get me started. The tapestry act: what a scam. Lady, you believe that you got to have been born yesterday…Next question; man in the front row…You want to what? Hear it from the horse’s mouth, how I got to be blind? OK, it was like this. Word. No myth bullshit: I’m out for a stroll after a three retsina lunch when I come upon a pair of sacred snakes fucking—Delphic reptiles, if memory serves—and got me a nice set of titties for the next seven years…you heard right. So pissed I’d seen them they changed me into a woman. (Ovid nailed this one, though take it from me most of the time he’s full of shit.) And I’ll tell you, just as I did the boss’s old lady, Big Hera herself—may she strike me deaf if I’m lying as she did blind when I told her what she didn’t want to hear. That Zeus was right: women get more out of sex than men do. Much more! Or haven’t you noticed? Look: a man comes once, maybe twice an hour, maybe a couple different times a day, let’s even say three, maximum. Correct? Let me tell you when I was a woman I’d come fifteen, maybe twenty times a half hour, several times every day. And, let me add, without the fears I had when I was a man: could I get it up; would it be hard enough, et cetera…Next question. You sir: can I what? Tell you if you’re going to land that new job? Sorry, no prophecies today. Come back Tuesday…You, madam: do I have any advice about selling your home? Do I ever! Glad you asked.

 —William Kulik


  1. Bob Tonucci said,

    June 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Kulik placed in the Final Four of Scarriet’s March Madness with “The Triumph of Narcissus and Aphrodite”. More than a dozen of his latest prose poems are featured in the May/June 2010 edition of American Poetry Review (available for purchase at

  2. January 19, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Lives of the Poets, part 1: Kulik – An Oral History

    Scarriet has long championed the prose poems of William Kulik, English professor at Temple University. It’s now been one year since the release of Nowhere Fast, a collection of his work that in no way disappointed, and we have purchased multiple copies to distribute to colleagues.

    In this first of Scarriet’s “Lives of the Poets” series, we thought it would be interesting to see how Kulik is viewed by his students. We consulted to see what they had to say about him, and were in no way surprised by the adulation he inspires. We only wish we could transfer from our own cow colleges to the “Ambler fields” of Temple U.:

    “WONDERFUL. He speaks in undulating waves of abstraction with a deep level of consciousness. Being in his presence is quite the experience. Highly recommended.”

    “Kulik is a freaking genius. He does go off topic, but if you think about what he’s saying, it’s almost always actually connected to the material somehow. Great discussion, relaxed classes, funny man! I’m taking him again next semester for sure!”

    “He’s a real nice, laidback guy. Not a hard grader, just have to do all the papers and show him you’re putting the effort in. If you’re talkative & love writing, you’ll be fine. Yes, he’s going to mark up your papers and give you his opinion, but he’s the prof. Go with it, and take his input. He’s a bit out there & confusing, but you’ll catch on!”

    “One of the more interesting experiences at Ambler. Never seems to say anything of importance, but gets under your skin anyway. Take him. You will be entertained if nothing else.”

    “He is a genius and somehow can keep your attention and interest throughout the class, but sadly he is an UNFAIR GRADER. He does push you do to better as a writer-but you might end up losing all confidence at the end of the course. He is nuts!”

    “Kulik is a great man. He’s smart, funny, and sincere. He often pokes fun at the state of the world but if you listen to what he is really saying you just might agree with him.”

    “really fun guy to take. he is very entertaining, but if he doesn’t like your writing style, he will grade you pretty harshly.”

    “He is a brilliant man and a decent professor. He frustrated me a great deal during the semester, but looking back I have nothing but respect for the man.”

    “One of the best professors I have ever taken. He is brilliant and you can see how sharp he is in his eyes. He makes the material interesting and he really knows how to recite a poem. He really introduced me to Robert Frost properly. I enjoyed coming to his class. I always work for my grade but feel confident with him.”

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