Stephen Dobyns

Full name

Stephen J. Dobyns

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Wayne State University 1964


University of Iowa 1967


Mount Carroll period alum

Stephen Dobyns was a student at Shimer College in the early Great Books period, listed with the class year of 1963. He is one of several Shimer alumni to have received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Brief description[edit | edit source]

This brief description is released under the CC0 copyright waiver.Stephen J. Dobyns (b. 1941) is a prominent American novelist and poet. He has authored more than three dozen volumes spanning numerous genres. A native of New Jersey, Dobyns received his undergraduate education at Shimer College and Wayne State University, completing his BA in 1964. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workship at Iowa State University. Dobyns has received numerous awards and other forms of recognition, including NEA and Guggenheim fellowships. (from Shimer College Wiki)

Profiled[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

This article was imported from Wikipedia.

Stephen J. Dobyns (born February 19, 1941) is an American poet and novelist born in Orange, New Jersey, and residing in Westerly, RI.[1][2]

Life[edit | edit source]

Was born on February 19, 1941 in Orange, New Jersey to Lester L., a minister, and Barbara Johnston Dobyns. 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 for Writers, the University of Iowa, Syracuse University, and Boston University.

In 1995, as a professor of English at Syracuse University, he was involved in a sexual discrimination scandal.[3] Francine Prose defended him by portraying his accuser and the school as having reacted to outdated neo-Victorian victim-feminism policies.

Works[edit | edit source]

In much of his poetry and some works of non-genre fiction, Dobyns employs extended tropes, using the ridiculous and the absurd as vehicles to introduce more profound meditations on life, love, and art. He shies neither from the low nor from the sublime, and all in a straightforward narrative voice of reason. His journalistic training has strongly informed this voice.

For example, in the poem "Missed Chances" in Cemetery Nights, the nameless speaker wanders through a metaphorical city in which those who missed their big opportunities futilely rehearse for opportunity's next arrival.

His poetic works count among them the 1971 Lamont Poetry Selection (Concurring Beasts), a National Poetry Series award winner (Black Dog, Red Dog), and a Melville Cane Award winner (Cemetery Nights).

Dobyns has written many detective stories about a private detective named Charlie Bradshaw who works out of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Bradshaw is unusual as a private eye protagonist, an ordinary man who was once a police officer. All the books have the word "Saratoga" in the title.

In the comic novel The Wrestler's Cruel Study, the protagonist roams through a modern cityscape governed by fairy-tale rituals, searching for his missing fiancée. He is alternately aided or hindered by a Friedrich Nietzsche -quoting manager and his Hegelian nemesis, to find that his wrestling matches are choreographed by a shadowy organization that enacts their various Gnostic theological debates through the pageantry and panoply of the ring. He eventually learns to resolve his own dualistic nature and determine who he is despite the role he plays.

Cold Dog Soup has been made into two films, the American Cold Dog Soup and the French Doggy Bag. Two Deaths of Señora Puccini has been made into the film Two Deaths. The movie Wild Turkey is based on one of his short stories.

The Church of Dead Girls is a novel about a small town's hysterical response to the mysterious disappearance of three of its teenaged girls.

Boy in the Water is a novel about events in a secluded private school in the United States.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Poetry[edit | edit source]

  • Concurring Beasts (1972)
  • The Reason Why (1973)
  • Griffon: Poems (1976)
  • Heat Death (1980)
  • The Balthus Poems (1982)
  • Black Dog, Red Dog (1984) ISBN 0-03-071077-4
  • Cemetery Nights (1987) ISBN 0-14-058584-2
  • Body Traffic (1990)
  • Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992 (1994) ISBN 0-14-058651-2
  • Common Carnage (1996)
  • Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides (1999) ISBN 0-14-058916-3
  • Do They Have a Reason? (2000)
  • The Porcupine's Kisses (2002)
  • Mystery, So Long (2005)
  • Winter's Journey (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)
  • Spiritual Chickens

Fiction[edit | edit source]

  • A Man of Little Evils (1973) ISBN 0-689-10567-3
  • Dancer With One Leg (1983)
  • Cold Dog Soup (1985)
  • A Boat Off the Coast (1987)
  • The Two Deaths of Senora Puccini (1988) ISBN 0-14-023579-5
  • The House on Alexandrine (1990) ISBN 0-8143-2183-6
  • After Shocks/Near Escapes (1991)
  • The Wrestler's Cruel Study (1993) ISBN 0-393-03511-5
  • The Church of Dead Girls (1997) ISBN 0-8050-5103-1
  • Boy in the Water (1999) ISBN 0-312-97522-8
  • Eating Naked [SS] (2000) ISBN 0-312-27829-2

Charlie Bradshaw series[edit | edit source]

  • Saratoga Longshot (1976) ISBN 0-14-025196-0
  • Saratoga Swimmer (1981)
  • Saratoga Headhunter (1985) ISBN 0-14-015606-2
  • Saratoga Snapper (1986) ISBN 0-670-81059-2
  • Saratoga Bestiary (1988) ISBN 0-670-82024-5
  • Saratoga Hexameter (1990)
  • Saratoga Haunting (1993)
  • Saratoga Backtalk (1994) ISBN 0-393-03659-6
  • Saratoga Fleshpot (1995) ISBN 0-393-03805-X
  • Saratoga Strongbox (1998) ISBN 0-670-87692-5

Nonfiction[edit | edit source]

  • Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry (1996)

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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