Biography of Stephen Dobyns
Stephen J. Dobyns (born February 19, 1941) is an American poet and novelist born in Orange, New Jersey, and residing in Westerly, RI.
Dobyns was born on February 19, 1941 in Orange, New Jersey to Lester L., an Episcopal minister, and Barbara Johnston Dobyns. Dobyns was raised in New Jersey, Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He was educated at Shimer College, transferred to and graduated from Wayne State University in 1964, and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1967. He has worked as a reporter for the Detroit News.
He has taught at various academic institutions, including Sarah Lawrence College, the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, the University of Iowa, Syracuse University, and Boston University.
In 1995, as a professor of English at Syracuse University, he was involved in a sexual discrimination scandal. Francine Prose defended him by portraying his accuser and the school as having reacted to outdated neo-Victorian victim-feminism policies.
Stephen Dobyns Poems
My stepdaughter and I circle round and round. You see, I like the music loud, the speakers throbbing, jam-packing the room with sound whether Bach or rock and roll, the volume cranked up so
How calm is the spring evening, and the water barely a ripple. My son stands at the edge tossing in pebbles, then jumping back. He knows
Cezanne and the Love of Color
Because his wife refused to miss a dress fitting, she missed his death instead. He painted to the last, a portrait in profile of his gardener sitting
The Invitations Overhead
At the edge of a golf course, a man watches geese land on a pond, the bottom of which is spotted with white golf balls. It is October
A record store on Wabash was where I bought my first album. I was a freshman in college and played the record in my room
Thus He Endured
Heart's friend Greasy gets nixed by a stroke. His pals give him a wake; they drink all night. The next day they cart the coffin to the church.
Why Fool Around?
How smart is smart? thinks Heart. Is smart what's in the brain or the size of the container? What do I know about what I do not know?
Where We Are
A man tears a chunk of bread off the brown loaf, then wipes the gravy from his plate. Around him at the long table, friends fill their mouths
Waking, I look at you sleeping beside me. It is early and the baby in her crib has begun her conversation with the gods
Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else. In such a way do the days pass— a blend of stock car racing and the never
A cry was heard among the trees, not a man's, something deeper. The forest extended up one side
It's Like This
Each morning the man rises from bed because the invisible cord leading from his neck to someplace in the dark,
Over a Cup of Coffee
Over a cup of coffee or sitting on a park bench or walking the dog, he would recall some incident from his youth—nothing significant—climbing a tree
Across the street, the carpenter carries a golden board across one shoulder, much as he bears the burdens of his life. Dressed in white, his only weakness is temptation. Now he builds another wall to screen him.
My stepdaughter and I circle round and round.
You see, I like the music loud, the speakers
throbbing, jam-packing the room with sound whether
Bach or rock and roll, the volume cranked up so
each bass notes is like a hand smacking the gut.
But my stepdaughter disagrees. She is four
and likes the music decorous, pitched below
her own voice-that tenuous projection of self.
With music blasting, she feels she disappears,