Read Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992 by Stephen Dobyns Online


Velocities presents a selection of poems spanning more than twenty-five years in the career of Stephen Dobyns, one of the finest and most original poets of our age. This volume brings together new poems and a generous selection of work from Dobyns's seven previously published collections....

Title : Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992
Author :
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ISBN : 9781852242640
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992 Reviews

  • Tony
    2019-03-17 02:36

    Dobyns is a poet for those who like their language weave loose, narrative, funny, profound. It's not condensed poetry, in general (though some of the early poems, based on Anglo-Saxon riddles are gnomic, riddling, epigrammatic), but rather the wise-cracking writing of a poet with a great sense of sentence rhythm and of the arc of the page-and-a-half poem. He's darker than Billy Collins and funnier than Phil Levine, has both the comic and the tragic masks hanging on the walls of his poems.Here's a good example of the sort of things that he does in this terrific collection:Spiritual Chickens A man eats a chicken every day for lunch, and each day the ghost of another chicken joins the crowd in the dining room. If he could only see them! Hundreds and hundreds of spiritual chickens, sitting on chairs, tables, covering the floor, jammed shoulder to shoulder. At last there is no more space and one of the chickens is popped back across the spiritual plain to the earthly. The man is in the process of picking his teeth. Suddenly there’s a chicken at the end of the table, strutting back and forth, not looking at the man but knowing he is there, as is the way with chickens. The man makes a grab for the chicken but his hand passes right through her. He tries to hit the chicken with a chair and the chair passes through her. He calls in his wife but she can see nothing. This is his own private chicken, even if he fails to recognize her. How is he to know this is a chicken he ate seven years ago on a hot and steamy Wednesday in July, with a little tarragon, a little sour cream? The man grows afraid. He runs out of his house flapping his arms and making peculiar hops until the authorities take him away for a cure. Faced with the choice between something odd in the world or something broken in his head, he opts for the broken head. Certainly, this is safer than putting his opinions in jeopardy. Much better to think he had imagined it, that he had made it happen. Meanwhile, the chicken struts back and forth at the end of the table. Here she was, jammed in with the ghosts of six thousand dead hens, when suddenly she has the whole place to herself. Even the nervous man has disappeared. If she had a brain, she would think she had caused it. She would grow vain, egotistical, she would look for someone to fight, but being a chicken she can just enjoy it and make little squawks, silent to all except the man who ate her, who is far off banging his head against a wall like someone trying to repair a leaky vessel, making certain that nothing unpleasant gets in or nothing of value falls out. How happy he would have been to be born a chicken, to be of good use to his fellow creatures and rich in companionship after death. As it is he is constantly being squeezed between the world and his idea of the world. Better to have a broken head—why surrender his corner on truth?—better just to go crazy.

  • Hannah Jane
    2019-03-05 05:48

    I love so many poems from Velocities - Spiritual Chickens, Bowlers Anonymous, his Cemetery Nights poems... The list goes on and on. Dobyns writes the most imaginative poetry. Each poem in Velocities completely submerges the reader in a different and utterly bizarre world. By reading this book, you can visit many planets. But be careful, you will come back wondering about the nature of every person you see on the street. You will come back from these poems wondering about your own hidden worlds. Spiritual Chickens is pretty straightforward. It's a poem about the spirits of consumed chickens inhabiting the dining room of the man who's eaten them. When he realizes that he's surrounded by all these dead chickens he flees and quite possibly goes crazy, though it's possible he was already on the crazy train when he sat down at the table. It's disturbing, enlightening, and hilarious. Here's a line from Spiritual Chickens - "Meanwhile, the chicken struts back and forth at the end of the table. Here she was, jammed in with the ghosts of six thousand dead hens, when suddenly she has the whole place to herself."Mermaid is another one of my favorites. In this poem, a man is put inside a tree. He lives in this tree for some time. "He becomes accustomed to the touch of birds' feet, the touch of wind and change of seasons, but to his suffering and sense of loss he becomes accustomed never." Eventually the tree is carved into a statue of a beautiful mermaid. "On windy nights, the mermaid swings from her double chain so the links chafe and rub, making a sound like a creaking door, and in that noise the man trapped in the wood puts all his unhappiness."Mermaid is one of those poems that has taken the meaning of the poem and uses the reader to further its message. Just like the man in the wood, the poem has been trapped in me. I often swish the lines around inside of me, and like the melancholy sound of the chain, become an outlet for the man's emotions. Noses and Spleens are two more poems I absolutely adore.From Noses - "But the nose - tiny rosebud of the mole, galumphing snout of the moose, bump of the skunk, smidgin of the frog - easier to imagine a heaven full of noses than one full of people, clouds packed with those soft triangles of flesh."From Spleen - "meager hunkerer beneath the heart... you doze to the steady whoosh of my lungs, diminutive car wash of the blood, extracting a few dead cells like a monkey picking lice from its mate..."

  • Cati Howard
    2019-03-22 04:43

    Stephen Dobyns is an excellent example of current creative writing. His poems don't read like poems at all, but mini short stories. I found myself engrossed in his poems and unable to put this book down. Definitely a bit graphic, this book tackles subjects not for the slight of heart, but does so with such poignant and striking vocabulary that it is all worth it by the end of the poem. One of my favorites for sure.

  • J.W. Dionysius Nicolello
    2019-03-16 23:49

    I forget who Haden Carruth is, was, and I have no idea who Thomas Lux is, but I don't see what they see. I don't want to trash the book because it's a nice edition I picked upat thefill a bag for a dollar sale. I'llpass this book on to some morbid, conflicted scrivener in desperate need of either rope or a poet he's never heard of someday. Someone with a name like Stu,or Macklin, or Todd, whose druggedlife's bread is new, selected poems.

  • Patrick Mcgee
    2019-03-25 01:45

    This nearly comprehensive offering of poems from Dobyns is excellent. Fans of poetry can see Dobyns progression from a more lyric style poet moving towards his more recent narrative style in the '90's and today. "How to Like It" is probably one of his more popular poems in the collection, but there is much more to soak up an experience. Dobyns has quickly become one of my favorite poets. So much so I recently ordered his latest book of poetry and his more pedagogical focused work discussing the craft and how he approaches it. Highly recommended.

  • David
    2019-03-01 04:44

    I stumbled across Stephen Dobyns on the internet and was blown away by his poem "How to Like it." On a whim, I bought this big volume of his poetry and found it amazing from start to finish. Dobyns is as approachable and funny as any other poet I've ever read, and yet you always leave his poems with something bigger than you might have expected.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-25 03:38

    I've read it three times so far, so there's plenty that calls me back. In his more recent poems, Dobyns seems obsessed with age, flatulence, and the word "prick." When he's not so "male", older poems like "Oatmeal Deluxe" and "Spiritual Chickens" are brilliant, surreal reflections on how we confront ourselves. (This is what I like about Mark Strand's work as well.)

  • Jerome K
    2019-03-10 02:46

    I picked this up while browsing through the poetry section of a chain bookstore and just fell in love with Dobyns' poems. His style is more narrative and modern than other poets. And he has a great sense of humour even when the subject matter is less than delectable. Cool stuff. All the best for Stephen Dobyns. I hope more people will discover his writings.

  • Eric
    2019-03-13 07:24

    I think that I am just not a poetry kind of guy. I really tried to give this a chance and I see so many good reviews, but this just did not do it for me. Every now and then, one of the poems would hit me but, mostly, I found this very "meh." I am very inexperienced with poetry, though, so I am inclined to give this 3 stars simply because I don't know any better.

  • Ryan Smith
    2019-03-22 04:41

    I don't normally do this, but: 3.5 stars. Some poems were absolutely stunning, some were just a bit too awkward for me, and most of the poems blended between these two extremes. Every time I wanted to stop reading, I would hit a poem that floored me.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-14 07:39

    My husband (then friend) gave me this book as a graduation gift. He read to me from it and the rest was pretty much history ... I was in love (with him and the book)! Dobyns is a gifted poet and storyteller. These poems don't ever get old to me.

  • Albert
    2019-02-28 03:40

    Dobyns and his prose poems are some of the best in modern American poetry of the last 50 years. This collection is a good sampling for acolytes of poetry and a good reintroduction to a 20+ years poetry career.

  • Terry
    2019-03-13 05:44

    I would recommend this book for fans of Raymond Carver's short stories.Another one of my all-time favorites. They're wonderfully narrative (for people who "hate poetry") and he understands humanity and all its failings.

  • George
    2019-03-21 03:23

    80's in the LSU campus bookstore. I get every new collection of his poetry that comes out and am never disappointed.

  • Chandler Rice
    2019-03-14 00:33

    Really the best book of poetry I have ever stumbled upon. Reads more like a novel but has great insight into the most basic emotions and truths of human character.

  • Karen Einstein
    2019-03-11 02:45

    one of my favourite books of poetry, still, after more than 20 years

  • Rude E
    2019-03-08 00:45

    Always been a favorite poet of mine since my teen years, I return to this edition for inspiration...great selections.Pablo Neruda is a wonderful poem.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-02 00:27

    responsive, nostalgic, melancholic, infinite...

  • Manintheboat
    2019-03-16 04:46

    This is my favorite book. I have been reading it over and over again, all over the world, for 14 years.

  • SmarterLilac
    2019-03-27 03:26

    I like Dobyns, but I wouldn't quite call this his best work.

  • Chad Pittman
    2019-03-07 06:27

    I love it.

  • Jeff
    2019-03-22 23:42

    a book full of wonderfully idiosyncratic poems--you must read "can poetry matter?" a perfect companion piece for billy collins' "workshop"--

  • elliot
    2019-03-05 00:28

    Marrative poetry. *Mwah

  • Rachel
    2019-02-25 04:33

    For me three of these poems made the book worth reading and sharing. A poet I'd heard good things about and wanted to explore.

  • unnarrator
    2019-03-25 02:36

    This was tough--one of those classic 2 and 1/2 star moments. Because I loved it in 1991, and found it eye-opening and astonishing and what have you; but do I love it now? I do not. It is teh meh.