A wise and graceful new collection by one of our "major, indispensable poets" (Sidney Lea). The mysteries of Eros and Thanatos, the stubborn endurance of mind and body in the face of diminishment--these are the undercurrents of Stephen Dunn's eleventh volume. "I am interested in exploring the 'different' hours," he says, "not...more
So Stephen Dunn's collection, Different Hours, it was. Pulitzer Prize winner, modern, still alive, professor of creative writing....there had to be something I...more
At first he thought only of home, and Penelope.
But after a few years, like anyone on his own,
he couldn't separate what he'd chosen
from what had chosen him.
Calypso, the Lotus-eaters, Circe;
a man could forget where he lived.
he had a gift for getting in and out of trouble,
a prodigious, human gift. To survive Cyclops
and withstand the Sir...more
Dunn's "A Romance," the first of those pieces,...more
Because in my family the heart goes first
and hardly anybody makes it out of his fifties,
I think I'll stay up late with a few bandits
of my choice and resist good advice.
I'll invent a secret scroll lost by Egyptians
and reveal its contents: the directions
to your house, recipes for forgiveness.
History says that my ventricles are stone
Different Hours is a nice armchair book that you could enjoy a...more
Stephen Dunn’s Different Hours collection contains poignantly priceless insights into the mind of an aging man. Its language is unique and refreshing. Dunn’s mood shifts throughout the story perhaps purposefully highlighting the transience of not just human condition but emotion, desire, and happiness as well.
The result is a written meditative journey full of the passionate sensations and disturbing realizations aging entails. Pleasant at times, sorrowful at othe...more
blowing in from who knows where,
which you gulp and deeply inhale
as if you have a death sentence. You have.
All your life, it seems, you've been appealing it.
Night sweats and useless stratagem. Reprieves."
from the opening poem Before the Sun Darkens
I think I resisted poetry for a while because I could ever find poems that resonated with me, that spoke to my experience of life, which has been shaped by my work as a nurse. Once you deal with death so frequen...more
Please check out all of Dunn's recent books: Local Visitations,Everything Else in the World,The Insistence of Beauty. Also see his memoir, Walking Light. This is, in my view, the best poet we have.
I must say, I appreciate a poet who's not afraid to give alliteration a solid workout in his stuff. As with a nifty pop hook in indie rock music, alliteration (and some other devices) should be embraced in writing, used well if sparingly.
At 120 pages, this is a rather lengthy poetry book. It'...more
Re-reading this again in honor of National Poetry Month. It scares me how much new beauty I can find in his writing each time I do this. "Irresistible" has always been one of my favorite poems, with the lines:
on its way toward destiny --
my favorite kind of helplessness."
a perennial favorite. But today I rediscovered "Optimism" and these lines from the title poem:
"I closed my eyes and saw myself
in waves of lucidity, a vanisher
in a long process of vanishing,
of solitary character,...more
Just an amazing end to a book filled with life's little, and sometimes larger, contradictions. Dunn shows us the beauty in their battle, and the oh-so-human need for their reconciliation. No wonder it won the Pulitzer. A stunning exhibit of form and freedom. I'm a happier person having read it.
Please feel free to join this discussion at any point.
Dunn's books of poetry include Everythin...more
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who can't endure their desires.
There's a world
as ambiguous as a moan,
a pleasure moan
our earnest neighbors
might think a crime.
It's where we could live.
I'll say I love you,
Which will lead, of course,
but those words unsaid
poison every next moment.
I will try to disappoint you
better than anyone else has.
A heart is to be spent.”