FACULTY AND STAFF: Faculty Profiles
Dr. Byron Petrakis taught at the University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina at Charlotte before returning to his native New England in 1982. From 1982-2001, he was a partner in the restaurant business with his wife and her family in Kingston, New Hampshire. In 2001, he returned to academic life as a full-time faculty member at White Pines College, which became Chester College of New England in 2002. From 2003-2007, he served as Dean of the College, before resigning that position to become Dean of Students and an adjunct faculty member in the Creative Writing and Literature Department.
He and his wife enjoy traveling to Italy and Greece, where each has numerous relatives scattered throughout the mainland and islands. An avid runner for 35 years, Dr. Petrakis has run 15 marathons in the United States and Europe and since 2002 has organized a team of Chester students, alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees to participate in the Reach the Beach Relay, a 210 mile race from the New Hampshire mountains to the sea, the longest relay race in the United States.
Below is an excerpt from his story, “The Arrows of Apollo,” which was selected for inclusion as an “Editors’ Choice” in the short story category in Bewildering Stories’ Fourth Quarterly Review 2009.
Vacation villas were rapidly replacing hillside grazing land once the domain of sheep and goats. The character of the island was changing almost overnight, as wealthy Greeks and foreigners bought into the promise of paradise touted by real estate companies located throughout the country. Yet, two hundred meters above the din and busyness below, the Delian Sanctuary of Apollo rose majestically, seemingly untouched by the modern world.
I was breathing heavily and sweating in the already warm early morning May sun. The rocks and scrubby vegetation did not offer any sense of the god’s divine mystery around me. Only the sweet aroma of yellow flowers on the shrubs, the fragrances of wild oregano and thyme, and the pink and white oleanders indicated the aura of Apollo.
It was quiet at the top. An iron fence surrounded the Sanctuary’s stone walls, protecting what looked like the ruins of an ancient altar in the middle. The gate was locked and the site eerily empty. I thought of Apollo’s dual nature, as both patron of the arts and Homer’s distant, destructive Archer, whose deadly arrows signaled the onset of a plague.