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Stephen Dobyns

From Academic Kids

Stephen Dobyns (1941 – ) is an American poet and novelist born in Orange, New Jersey, and residing in Boston.

Contents

Life

Raised in New Jersey, Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

He was educated at Shimer College, graduated from Wayne State University, and received an MFA from the University of Iowa.

He worked as a reporter for the Detroit News.

He has taught at various academic institutions, including Sarah Lawrence College, Warren Wilson College, the University of Iowa, Syracuse University, and Boston University.

As a professor of English at Syracuse University, he was involved in a sexual discrimination scandal. Francine Prose famously defended him with faint damning of his accuser and the neo-Victorian victim-feminism policies in an article that cast all parties in an unflattering light.

Works

Dobyns has written many detective stories about a character named Charlie Bradshaw who works at the Saratoga racetrack and as a private eye. Bradshaw is unusual as a private eye protagonist, an ordinary man who was once a policeman. All the books have the word "Saratoga" in the title.

In much of his poetry and some works of non-genre fiction, Dobyns employs extended tropes, using the ridiculous and the absurd as vehicles to intoduce more profound meditations on life, love, and art. He does not shy from the low, nor from the sublime, and all in a straightforward narrative voice of reason. This voice is strongly informed by his journalistic training.

For example, in the poem "Missed Chances" in Cemetery Nights, the nameless speaker wanders through a metaphorical city in which those who missed their big opportunities futilely rehearse for when that moment will next arrive. In the comic novel The Wrestler's Cruel Study, the protagonist roams through a modern cityscape populated by fairy-tale rituals, searching for his missing fiancée, alternately aided or hindered by a Nietzsche-quoting manager and his Hegelian nemesis, to find that his wrestling matches are choreographed by a shadowy organization that enacts their various Gnostic theological debates through the pageantry and panoply of the ring, all the while learning to resolve his own dualistic nature and determine who he is behind the role he plays.

His poetic works count among them a Lamont Poetry Selection (Concurring Beasts), a National Poetry Series award winner, and a Melville Cane Award winner (Cemetery Nights).

Cold Dog Soup has been made into two films, Cold Dog Soup and Doggy Bag. Two Deaths of Se&ncirc;ora Puccini has been made into the film Two Deaths. The movie Wild Turkey is based on one of his short stories.


Bibliography

Poetry

  • Concurring Beasts (1972)
  • Griffon: Poems (1976)
  • Heat Death (1980)
  • The Balthus Poems (1982)
  • Cemetery Nights (1987)
  • Body Traffic (1990)
  • Black Dog, Red Dog (1990)
  • After Shocks/Near Escapes (1991)
  • Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992 (1994)
  • Common Carnage (1996)
  • Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides (1999)
  • The Porcupine's Kisses (2002)
  • Mystery, So Long (2005)

Fiction

  • A Man of Little Evils (1973)
  • Saratoga Longshot (1976) #
  • Saratoga Swimmer (1981) #
  • Dancer With One Leg (1983)
  • Saratoga Headhunter (1985) #
  • Cold Dog Soup (1985)
  • Saratoga Snapper (1986) #
  • Cemetery Nights (1987)
  • A Boat Off the Coast (1987)
  • Saratoga Bestiary (1988) #
  • The Two Deaths of Senora Puccini (1988)
  • Saratoga Hexameter (1990) #
  • The House on Alexandrine (1990)
  • Black Dog, Red Dog (1990)
  • After Shocks/Near Escapes (1991)
  • Saratoga Haunting (1993) #
  • The Wrestler's Cruel Study (1993)
  • Saratoga Backtalk (1994) #
  • Saratoga Fleshpot (1995) #
  • The Church of Dead Girls (1997)
  • Saratoga Strongbox (1998)
  • Boy in the Water (1999)
  • Eating Naked [SS] (2000)

# Charlie Bradshaw series

Nonfiction

  • Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry (1996)
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