Cal Poly Pomona Literature Professor Liam Corley has always been a man with many roles — a poet, a professor, a father and a military officer. His diverse background and life stories have shaped the person and professor he is today.
Corley recently published a poetry book, “Unwound,” a collection that serves as a reflection of his journey as a writer, but also a way to organize his thoughts and express what he was going through when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008.
“A lot of these poems take things which may be meaningless or tragic in themselves and make something more of them. And I did that largely to help other people who had similar experiences. To help them see things differently or to find value in the things they’ve been through,” Corley said.
Corley spoke passionately about how his poems weren’t the typical battlefield verses one might expect from a military man. Instead, the poems delved into the intricacies of conscience, commitments and family. His poems were letters to his wife, his daughters and his son, as a way to bridge the gap between the battlefield and home.
“I wanted my family to understand, you know, what they experienced secondhand through me,” Corley said.
Aside from being a poet, Corley is also a science fiction writer about to release a new book in that genre. His military background influenced his journey as a writer. His upcoming November release, “Changelings: Insurgents,” is a blend of science fiction and characters embodying CPP’s polytechnic identity.
The book delves into the genetics of a technologically advanced future where engineers, scientists, humanists and soldiers have to work together to navigate a complex world and wars.
“This is a really big deal for me in terms of my personal life, to have two books coming out in one year. They’re very different, and yet there are connections between them.”
After a year of military service in Iraq, Corley returned to CPP in fall 2023. He is eager to come back to teaching, extending to his students the same level of trust and responsibility that he experienced firsthand in the military, imparting valuable life lessons.
“I may be coming back at the perfect time. Students are a bit more hopeful and energized than during the pandemic.”
His process of writing poetry and fiction, along with his military, professional and personal experiences, offer life lessons, such as the power of resilience, that Corley said he hopes to share with students and those who read his books.
To read more about his latest release, “Unwound,” visit the publisher’s website.