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Cemetery Nights

4.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  172 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
From the fabulous storytelling of our dreams to the mute passions of domestic life, Stephen Dobyns explores a full range of human experience in these narrative poems. Often frightening and sometimes downright funny, the world of Cemetery Nights is haunted by regret, driven by desire and need, illuminated by daring make-believe -- the remarkable bridge between pure entertai ...more
Paperback, 99 pages
Published January 6th 1987 by Penguin Books
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Nov 17, 2007 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Discovering the poetry of Stephen Dobyns is one of the best things I ever got out of reading Stephen King. In King's novel Insomnia there's a character who loves poetry, and talks about Cemetery Nights. The description of story poems sounded down my alley, so I sought it out. Now Dobyns is my favorite poet. For a taste of his affecting story verses, check out Tomatoes
Chilling, eh?
His poem Querencia, about a bullfight, breaks my heart every time I read it.
Ashley Granger
Jul 23, 2014 Ashley Granger marked it as to-read
"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
ending building of a gothic cathedral.
Through the windows of my speeding car, I see
all that I love falling away: books unread,
jokes untold, landscapes unvisited." - if you don't think that is the shit, then I don't even know what to do with you.
Jul 14, 2007 Keith rated it it was amazing
Most modern poetry is drivel, but I love this. Deeply depressing, truthful, and wry, Dobyns manages to capture the feeling of looking up at the ceiling late at night and wondering what the hell it's all about.
Feb 19, 2008 Masked rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dangerpoet
"these are the first days of fall. the wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving."

it keeps going. there's a dog.
Feb 24, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, a-m
Well, aside from the fact that this felt slightly dated as I read it, the poems were very good. Dobyns' poetry is meaty and reads like a dark story, and that was enjoyable. I think my favourites had to be "Tomatoes," "Faces," and "Spiritual Chickens."
Dec 30, 2007 Christine rated it it was amazing
God, I love this book. Especially the dog/sandwich/angst poem, which has to be my favorite poem ever, even if it is a poem with a dog in it. Here's to Dobyns, his swirling Wild Turkey, his brutal beautiful honesty, and even his classic derisive gaze, which seems hardly capable of mealy mouthed pretension or patronage--a relief if you're exhausted by odes to, celebrations of, glory to, etc. etc. Oh yeah, there are the painting poems. But those are in another book, I think...and a guy has got to s ...more
Jun 01, 2008 Bob rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bob by: Stephen King, but not personally!
Dobyns reminds me of another "Stephen" who is known for both his poetry and proses, namely Stephen Crane. They both explore the cynicism of life without apology and without being overly dramatic. Crane would be deeply intrigued by titles such as "The Nihilist." Dobyns' prose-like style is simply effortless to navigate, immediately allowing the reader to be engrossed in the poems. Many of the poems read like fables with one of my favorites being "Short Rides." Surprisingly I have no quotes to add ...more
Kevin Brown
Aug 20, 2011 Kevin Brown rated it liked it
I'm rather indifferent to this book. I liked the poems well enough when I was reading them, but none of them really stuck with me or surprised me with the ideas or language. I also didn't think they were awful by any measure, though. I keep trying Dobyns, and I will continue to do so, but I'd like for some of his poems to do something more.
Leif Erik
May 17, 2008 Leif Erik rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is the only book of poetry that I love. I generally don't care for poetry, and there is a fair amount that I like alright. But this one is it. I don't bother recommending to people anymore because I always way oversell it and inevitably there is disappointment on both sides.
Jul 07, 2009 LemontreeLime rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Read this many years ago, and loved it then. I'm not sure how I would feel about it now. Will have to find it and reread it at some point here. (And yes I admit I also discovered Dobyns because of Stephen King.)
Nov 10, 2008 Liz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
My favorite poem, "How To Like It", is contained within this excellent collection. Dobyns knows how to tell a good story in a poem. With him, it is always a complete idea.
Mar 30, 2009 Tim rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the best compilations of poetry you will ever read. It is essential reading for a Dobyns fan. If you're not a fan, you should be.
Sep 13, 2014 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Always a pleasure to read and re-read.
Jun 12, 2012 Britt rated it it was amazing
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Dobyns was 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 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
More about Stephen Dobyns...

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“Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else..
in such a way do the days pass.. I see all that I love falling away..
books unread, jokes untold, landscapes unvisited..”
More quotes…