Cemetery Nights
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Cemetery Nights

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  140 ratings  ·  13 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, 112 pages
Published January 6th 1987 by Penguin Books
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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....more
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."
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.
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
"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.
Leif Erik
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.
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 5 of 5 stars 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.
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.
Been too long since I read this, but came across a quote from book in different context, "Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else."
Nov 27, 2012 Levi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Yup, also got into Dobyns by reading King's Insomnia. Fell in love with "Pursuit" and found a new mini-anthem. Ahhh, it haunts me so.
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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
More about Stephen Dobyns...
The Church Of Dead Girls The Burn Palace Boy in the Water Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992

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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…