writings fall into two broad categories: creative works—stage
plays, screenplays, musical plays, Southern Expressionism,
comedies, farces, poems, independent songs, short fiction—and
linguistic works of a theoretical and pedagogical nature.
The purpose of this site is to collect these writings which
might be of some interest to somebody, sometime, somewhere.
All of these pieces are fully protected by copyright, but
virtually all requests to produce or reproduce them will be
granted free of charge. Exceptions to this will apply in cases
where substantial profits are involved. It should be noted,
however, that permission to produce or reproduce any of these
writings must be granted before that is done.
There is one inconsistency
in the categorization of plays that should be explained. All
but one of the categories refer to widely accepted genres
(comedy, tragedy, etc.). “Southern Expressionism,”
however, refers more to theme. Normally After
Isabel and The
Last of Abdul would tend to the category of comedy
since the main characters come to a difficult but de facto
understanding and acceptance of one another and of their fate.
However, the conclusion of both plays—like their progression—is
skin deep. What really is at issue is the relationship of
complex individuals to a complex culture. Coreil commented
that he did his best to symbolically present these thematic
complexities, but does not claim to penetrate the symbol.
As a name of this category, he chose “Southern Expressionism,”
which is used occasionally when referring to a generally coherent
theme in artistic works from or about the Deep South.
The characters and situations
in Coreil’s 20 plays are an amalgam of personal experience
and a vivid, if not overactive, imagination. In some plays,
one might encounter traces of excess and decadence, and in
others, attempts at lofty romance and heroic steadfastness.
Probably, this range of largely dark fantasies finds headwaters
in Cajun Louisiana, where the author was born and and worked
in journalism before 1967. In that year, he went to Vietnam
as a volunteer English teacher at the University of Hue. The
winter was soaked and cold, and Coreil lived mostly on C-Rations
from the black market. Experiencing a case of dysentery that
he thought was unrivaled, he was taken to a U.S. military
doctor who turned out to be even sicker—the physician
diagnosed Coreil and called for injections without ever lifting
his head from his desk. When Clyde recovered, he hitched a
ride on a military plane bound for Singapore. Unwittingly,
he thereby avoided the Battle of Hue during Tet, 1968, which
began the following night and in which his fellow volunteers
When he returned to Saigon,
the University of Hue had been leveled. His contract with
International Voluntary Services was cancelled four weeks
later, and he worked as Ordinary Seaman on a freighter headed
for the U.S.A. During those weeks in Saigon, he wrote his
first song. Several months later, he left the States for the
Near East, having completed Remembering
Hue, a play with lyrics and music to 14 songs.
He banged around the world, returning to Saigon for a while.
From there, he went to Carnegie Mellon University for an M.F.A.
in playwriting/theatre. His play After
Isabel won a National Endowment for the Arts
fellowship, whereupon he got married to a Chinese painter
and traveled a few more years. He took a Ph.D. in linguistics
from the New York City University and has been teaching ever
since at New Jersey City University where he is now Professor
of English as a Second Language. His dissertation on “supralexicals”
(fixed phrases) received the Edward Sapir Dissertation Award
from the New York Academy of Science. He founded and edits
the international Journal of the Imagination in Language
Learning and Teaching in 1990. Most recently, he edited
an anthology, Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner and
New Methods of College Teaching.
His latest song is “La
Chanson de Ville Platte,” composed in the style of classical
Cajun music—accordion, violin, drums and steel guitar
. His latest play is Homelands,
a musical fable about Bernard, a sparrow who cannot fly but
whose song encodes directions for the annual migration. Aboard
a raft on the Mississippi River, he pursues his dream, his
sweetheart and his departed flock. His companion, a caterpillar,
saves his life, and he endures considerable hardship to carry
out a promise and return her deteriorating cocoon to Louisiana,
her homeland. There he discovers that she is alive and has
become a beautiful butterfly. Flushed with happiness, he accepts
the Faustian Dr. Crow’s repeated offer to be magically
transformed into a sparrow that can fly but cannot sing. At
first elated, Bernard then learns that his song is needed
by his flock which will otherwise perish. Sadly but with nobility,
the sparrow reverses the transformation. He cannot fly, but
his duty is done. Coreil is now working on short stories about
his youth in South Louisiana, which is also the setting of
a play with songs about an aging musician.
(More details can be found in the print and the online versions
of Who’s Who in America).