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Common Carnage

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Taking a different tack than John Keats in 'Ode to a Nightingale, ' Stephen Dobyns joins sixty-nine poems in Common Carnage, his ninth book of poetry, in order to address the conundrum 'How hard to love the world; we must love the world.' The spiritual intermixed with the bawdy, the courageous with the cowardly, the kindly with the cruel - Common Carnage rejects the decoro ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Penguin Books
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Tom Romig
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Stephen Dobyns is an original thinker and an inventive wordsmith. Read him and see the world differently.

From "Odysseus Discusses Achilles":

Death embraces his whole self and Achilles
simpers, flirts, attempt to seduce it.
All else he loves is less than this love.

Do you see why many hate him? He has
gone past the human. He calls it godlike.
Is that what it means to be a monster?

He is without moderation. As for us,
where would we be without our dream
of a homeland, of friends who love us?

Those dreams ar
...more
C
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it
There are some really great poetic moments in this collection (Winter Nights, "Li'l Darlin'", "Lullaby"...) and many good moments as well.

I have basically two major problems with this collection:

1.) It is really uneven. Some pieces feel very strong and some feel very weak. While there is a thread running through about Achilles, it feels a bit tacked on, honestly.

2.) The poems in this collection that are directly about the big questions of human life unfortunately come across sounding less like
...more
Toby
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-drama
I picked up this volume of poetry on a whim in a second hand bookshop in Whitby. I've no idea why apart from the fact that it looked unread and the cover was pretty. I was very pleased that I did pick it up as it introduced me to an American poet of whom I had never heard, let alone read.

Dobyns' poetry combines both wit and pathos. The volume begins with pre-birth (the souls of the unborn clustering around waiting for their bodies) and takes us through to death and the unresolved question of ete
...more
Dave
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A current running through the text is the destiny/shape/worth/effects of the soul. Although I didn't much appreciate this particular question as a motif, the poems themselves were original and fresh with wise ironies. Particularly, the series on Homeric allegory and the Lullaby he strangely dedicates to Stephen King were great. ...more
Joseph
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
a gift from my poet sister. she was looking for "guy" poetry. i shared it with friends, left it at my drawing table in studio; everyone seemed to enjoy it. ...more
Debra
Mar 07, 2011 marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended.
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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

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“For years I had been living in a kind of eternal present, shutting off all the past which disagreed with me, letting through only the most censored memories. As for the future, nothing was thought out. It simply happened, like the turning of the page. In filling my life with books, I was ... surrounding myself with other people's stories in order to obliterate my own.” 0 likes
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