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About this poet

On February 19, 1941, Stephen Dobyns was born in Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from Wayne State University and has an MFA from the University of Iowa. Dobyns has published ten books of poetry and twenty novels.

His books of poetry include Winter's Journey (Copper Canyon Press, 2010); Mystery, So Long (2005); The Porcupine's Kisses (2002); Do They Have a Reason? (2000)Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides (Penguin, 1999); Common Carnage (1996); Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992 (1994); Cemetery Nights (1987), which won a Melville Cane Award; Black Dog, Red Dog (1984), which was a winner in the National Poetry Series; Heat Death (1980); and Concurring Beasts (1972), which was the 1972 Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets.

His novels include Boy in the Water (Holt/Metropolitan, 1999), The Church of Dead Girls (1997), Saratoga Fleshpot (1995), The Wrestler's Cruel Study (1993), and Saratoga Haunting (1993). His novels have been translated into more than ten languages. Dobyns is also the author of a collection of short stories, Eating Naked (2000) and a book of essays, Best Words, Best Order (1996).

Among his many honors and awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Iowa and Boston University. Stephen Dobyns lives in Boston with his wife and three children.

Multimedia

From the Image Archive

 

Lost

Stephen Dobyns, 1941
A cry was heard among the trees,
not a man's, something deeper.
The forest extended up one side
the mountain and down the other. 
None wanted to ask what had made
the cry. A bird, one wanted to say,
although he knew it wasn't a bird.
The sun climbed to the mountaintop,  
and slid back down the other side.
The black treetops against the sky
were like teeth on a saw. They waited
for it to come a second time. It's lost,
one said. Each thought of being lost
and all the years that stretched behind.
Where had wrong turns been made?
Soon the cry came again. Closer now. 

From Winter's Journey by Stephen Dobyns. Copyright © 2010 by Stephen Dobyns. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

From Winter's Journey by Stephen Dobyns. Copyright © 2010 by Stephen Dobyns. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

Stephen Dobyns

Stephen Dobyns

The author of numerous collections of poetry and novels, Stephen Dobyns was the recipient of the Lamont Poetry Selection in 1972

by this poet

poem
A man owns a green parrot with a yellow beak
that he carries on his shoulder each day to work.
He runs a pet shop and the parrot is his trademark.

Each morning the man winds his way from his bus
through the square, four or five blocks. There goes
the parrot, people say. Then at night, he comes back.

The man