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Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  292 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by Bloodaxe Books Ltd (first published 1994)
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Mar 23, 2008 Tony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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.

Cati Howard
Aug 06, 2011 Cati Howard rated it it was amazing
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.
Abimelech Abimelech
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 the
fill a bag for a dollar sale. I'll
pass 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 drugged
life's bread is new, selected poems.
Patrick Mcgee
Aug 17, 2012 Patrick Mcgee rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Hannah Jane
I think there should be a giant penis on the cover of this book maybe as a warning or an invitation depending on what type of person you are.

This guy is a freaking genius though. If you read Bowlers Anonymous and did not laugh there is something wrong with you. Maybe you're a chicken molester.
Jun 16, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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.
Jul 21, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it
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
Aug 14, 2007 Jerome K rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 08, 2014 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
Aug 01, 2008 Ryan Smith rated it liked it
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.
May 28, 2007 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Shelves: favoritebooks
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.
Nov 26, 2014 Albert rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 09, 2007 Terry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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.
Aug 21, 2011 George rated it it was amazing
80's in the LSU campus bookstore. I get every new collection of his poetry that comes out and am never disappointed.
Chandler Rice
Mar 15, 2007 Chandler Rice rated it it was amazing
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.
Rude E
Dec 01, 2007 Rude E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 02, 2007 Manintheboat rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book. I have been reading it over and over again, all over the world, for 14 years.
Apr 25, 2008 Jeff rated it it was amazing
a book full of wonderfully idiosyncratic poems--you must read "can poetry matter?" a perfect companion piece for billy collins' "workshop"--
Jan 05, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
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.
Sep 14, 2009 unnarrator rated it it was ok
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.
Christine rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2012
Christopher rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2007
Grant Barber
Grant Barber rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2011
Ms.  Barnhart
Ms. Barnhart rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2016
Ross rated it really liked it
Sep 20, 2014
Kelly rated it really liked it
Sep 02, 2011
Jfiorini rated it really liked it
Dec 01, 2008
Judson rated it liked it
Sep 27, 2007
Annika Johansson
Annika Johansson rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2013
Jane rated it really liked it
Aug 02, 2007
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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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“He thinks of that ocean house and wishes he were back in his former life or that one could take one moment and remain inside it like an egg inside its shell, instead of constantly being hurried into the future by good luck or bad.” 7 likes
“Why are doors more difficult to open
as if some sadness were leaning against them?
Why do windows darken and trees bend
when there is no wind? You call that occasional
roar the roar of a plane and I imagine
a time when I might have believed that. But now the darkness has been going on
for too long, and I have accustomed myself
to the pleasure of thinking that soon
there will be no reason to hold on in this place
where rocks are like water and it’s so difficult
to find something solid to hold on to.”
More quotes…