Death of a Doorman


Tufariello, Catherine




Catherine Tufariello (1963–) was born and raised in the Buffalo area. She received her BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo (now the University at Buffalo) and her PhD from Cornell University, writing her thesis on Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. She is now the Reflective Reading Project Director for the Center for Civic Reflection at Valparaiso University. Tufariello’s first full-length poetry collection, Keeping My Name, won the 2006 Poets’ Prize and the Walt McDonald First-Book poetry prize, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry.

"Death of a Doorman" lends itself to reflection on the nature of relationships with those we interact with in our everyday lives. What is the depth of our connection with those around us and does the depth of those connections matter?

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Originally published in the online journal Valparaiso Poetry Review.


Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.


Connection and RelationshipDiversity and DifferenceIdentity and Community

Big Questions

What makes it possible for us to connect to others? What gets in the way?How do we connect with those who are different from us?What assumptions do we make about others?


Taking Action

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. What bothers the speaker about the doorman?
  2. What exactly “depended on” the doorman’s baritone duets, or on his small talk?
  3. How does the narrator feel about her own behavior towards the doorman?
  4. Why do you think the poem concludes as it does?
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