Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Common Carnage” as Want to Read:
Common Carnage
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Common Carnage, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Common Carnage

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  71 ratings  ·  6 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Common Carnage
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
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
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
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
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
Mar 07, 2011 marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended.
Kelli Simon
rated it really liked it
May 18, 2012
Nick Johnson
rated it liked it
Dec 20, 2018
anthony burrowes
rated it did not like it
Jul 31, 2018
Siriyupha Xiong
rated it liked it
Mar 22, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2016
Aaron Leis
rated it really liked it
Mar 25, 2008
Geoffrey Rose
rated it did not like it
Jun 22, 2019
rated it liked it
Jul 07, 2011
Ron Mohring
rated it liked it
Nov 24, 2008
Samantha Snavely
rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2016
rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2008
vi macdonald
rated it liked it
Apr 20, 2017
Eric Morris-Pusey
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2017
rated it liked it
Apr 23, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jul 29, 2008
rated it liked it
Sep 20, 2014
rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2015
Cristobal Carrasco
rated it it was ok
Apr 15, 2015
Jason Jordan
rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2011
Ryo Yamaguchi
rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2008
Gianmarc Manzione
rated it it was amazing
Oct 23, 2014
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Amphigorey (Amphigorey, #1)
  • Gnomes
  • Train Dreams
  • Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i
  • The Prayers of Others
  • Making Love to Roget's Wife: Poems New and Selected
  • Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration
  • True Grit
  • Heidi (Heidi, #1-2)
  • Little Oceans (the Hollyridge Press Chapbook Series)
  • Night Boat to Tangier
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
  • Heidi Grows Up
  • How to Be A Travel Writer (Lonely Planet)
  • Kwame Sutra
  • Obama: An Oral History
  • Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920's
  • Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America, September 3, 1929–September 3, 1939
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
23 likes · 8 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“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
More quotes…