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Velocities: New and Selected Poems: 1966-1992 (Poets, Penguin) Paperback – January 11, 1994


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"Ten Windows" by Jane Hirshfield
Hirshfield explores how poetry’s world-making takes place: word by charged word. By expanding what is imaginable and sayable, Hirshfield proposes, poems expand what is possible. See more
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Product Details

  • Series: Poets, Penguin
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140586512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140586510
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dobyns is a restless and insistent writer, pounding out such novels as The Wrestler's Cruel Study and the Charlie Bradshaw detective series, all the while composing poetry of corporeal authority. Not to say that Dobyns is only a poet of the body, but a gritty physicality does, in fact, underlie all his poems, whether they're about death, love, hope, or stubborn what-the-hell lust. This volume gathers the best of eight books of poems as well as a selection of new, never-before-published works, and it takes us on a journey into territories both mythical and commonplace. Dobyns can write about Orpheus as convincingly as he can write about shaving, his baby daughter, or a vignette in a topless bar. Just as the title implies, there is a constant sense of motion and speed in Dobyns' poetry, an urgency, a longing for escape or release. He writes about angels and rats, sloth and bravado, the paintings of C{‚}ezanne and Balthus, kisses and cemeteries. If we were to choose one element to describe these poems, it would be water, which can move at many speeds and fill any space. Donna Seaman

Review

Absence
After The War With The Eskimos
Anger
Beauty
The Belly
Birth Report
Black Dog, Red Dog
Bleeder
The Body Of Romulus
The Body's Curse
The Body's Hope
The Body's Journey
The Body's Strength
The Body's Weight
Bowlers Anonymous
Bravado
The Card Game
Careers
Cemetery Nights
Cemetery Nights 2
Cemetery Nights Iv
Cemetery Nights V
Cezanne And The Love Of Color
Cezanne's Ambition
Cezanne's Doubts
Cezanne's Love Of Poetry
Cezanne's Outrageousness
Clouds
The Commiunity
Confession
Connections
Contingencies
The Conviviality Of Cows
Counterparts
Covetousness
Crossroads
Cuiadores De Autos
Dancing In Vacationland
The Day The World Ends
Dead Baby
The Delicate, Plummeting Bodies
Desire
Envy
Explaining The Nature Of Evidence
Eyelids
Faces
Fatal Kisses
Favorite Iraqi Soldier
Fear
Footstep
Fragments
Freight Cars
Frenchie
From The Invisibles
Funny
The Gardener
Geese
The General And The Tango Singer
General Matthei Drives Home Through Santiago
Getting Up
The Giver Of Gifts
Gluttony
Gotteron Landscape
The Grandfather Poem
The Great Doubters Of History
The Greedy Child
Grief
The Guitar Lesson
The Gun
Hidden Within The Sleeves Of Those Dark Robes
How Could You Ever Be Fine?
How It Was At The End
How To Like It
In A Row
In The Hospital
Inappropriate Gestures
It's Like This
Japanese Girl With Red Table
Katia Reading
Kentucky Derby Day, Belfast, Maine
Leaving The Bar And Low Life At Closing, I Unsuccessfully
Letter Beginning With The First Line Of Your Letter
The Living Room
Long Story
Marsyas, Midas And The Barber
The Men With Long Faces
Mermaid
Morning Song
The Mountain
The Music One Looks Back On
Name-burning
Night Swimmer
The Nihilist
No Map
The Noise The Hairless Make
Noses
Oatmeal Deluxe
Orpheus
Pablo Neruda
The Party
Passing The Word
Pastel Dresses
The Place Between Us
A Place In Maine
Putting It All Away
Querencia
Rain Song
Receivers Of The World's Attention
Red Geraniums
Refusing The Necessary
The Room
Rootless
Roughhousing
Santiago: Five Men In The Street: Number One
Santiago: Five Men In The Street: Number Two
Santiago: Forestal Park
Santiago: In Praise Of Community
Santiago: La Avenida Pedro De Valdivia
Santiago: Market Day In Winter
Seeing Off A Friend
A Separate Time
Separations
Shaving
Short Rides
Silence
Six Poems On Moving
Slipping Away
Sloth
Somewhere It Still Moves
Song For Making The Birds Come
Song Of Four Dancers
Song Of The Drowned Boy
Song Of The Wrong Response
Spiritual Chickens
Spite
Spleen
Spring Rain
The Street
Streetlight
Sweat
Syracuse Nights
Ten Feet Of Rope
Tenderly
Theseus Within The Labyrinth
This Life
To Pull Into Oneself As Into A Locked Room
Tomatoes
Topless
Toting It Up
The Triangular Field
Under The Green Ceiling
Uprising
Vanity
The Velocity Of Cows
Waking
Walls To Put Up, Walls To Take Down
The Way It Goes Or The Proper Use Of Leisure Time
The Ways Of Keys
What You Have Come To Expect
Where We Are
White Pig
The White Skirt
White Thighs
Wind Chimes
The Window
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best books of contemporary American poetry I've read.
Philip Hart
Heavy distress that feels sooo good it scratch...even if you end up making it worse.
LMB
This book is a great place to experience the range and power of his work.
Daryl Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Anderson VINE VOICE on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Stephen Dobyns is one of my favorite living poets - an eclectic bunch including Dunn, Olds, Ai, Kenney and Lux. This book was the one that introduced me to his work and it is absolutely the best place for you to do the same; all the more so since he just has released the dreadfully lightweight "Porcupine Kisses." Once I decided to write a one-star review of that book, I felt it only proper to post this 5-star counterpoint first. This book is a great place to experience the range and power of his work.
Poetry is so darn hard to review. At its best it lodges in and lights up neuronal nooks and crannies that were invisibly personal but become, somehow, unexpectedly universal. Very mysterious.
Dobyns manages to capture that 'universality' in his poetry in a manner that repeatedly surprises. Lots of poetry achieves this by rooting itself in the well-known. Dobyns takes a contrary tack. The poetry in this book often seems to concern people or places that you'd hardly expect to have the slightest interest in - certainly not at the level of seemingly narrow focus that he brings to his view of the world. Would you seek out depictions of street scenes in Santiago? on the work of the artist Balthus? the last breaths of a bull in the ring? The very different-ness of these points of view and odd scenarios accentuates the twang of recognition in your heartstring when it is plucked.
This poetry has a distinctive feel to it - gritty and detailed, but languorous in pace. It is an unusual sort of languor, though. It isn't landscaped pastoral; on the contrary the poetry is vigorously 'peopled.' It isn't sleepy, either, a sense of time and movement pervades; but the sense of motion is often an orbital one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Dobyns scatters his words throughout the material and the immaterial in this fine, fine collection. His daughter's fate is pondered while shaving, all the dangers of her life worry him while she plays in the shaving cream. Or he switches to a somewhat darker political awareness, due to his extended stays in Chile. Either way, Dobyns has a great colloquial style that doesn't gyp you on content--you feel like you're reading a letter from a friend, and then a stanza will just jump out at you--and you realize it's a good, good poem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Michael Albert on June 30, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What?!? Five reviews on the best, most accesible, neither over-brainy nor dumbed-down poetry being written in America?!? What's that about? No. Really. My first Dobyns was "How to Like It." I've read it aloud in several poetry readings since then. The audience always has my reaction: brainy, funny, classical subject, modern angle -- great poem! Since then, I've found the occasional Dobyns poem in anthologies, or heard others read him and put a big mental red-check by his name. I even was in the audience at an open mike once with the sole intention of listening, and was handed a Dobyns poem and told it was imperative that I read it. As a poet, this is what I want to be; like navigating by the North Star, I'm fairly positive I'll never get there. If you read poetry, you should be reading Dobyns. Start with the poems from his book, Cemetery Nights. From there, your poetry-reading life is pretty well planned out (as is that library you're taking with you to that deserted island).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philip Hart on October 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
One of the best books of contemporary American poetry I've read. Even if you own the seven books Velocities is drawn from, you'll want to get it just for the 18 new poems, as funny and touching and frightening as anything he's written.
Unless you like your poetry especially cooked, you're likely to find poems you (and others - when I read my friends Oatmeal Deluxe they couldn't stop laughing) will love in this varied collection. The poems from Griffon are reminiscent of Wilbur's riddle poems or a funny Hughes. The selections from Heat Death are serious, dark, and moving. The poems on Balthus paintings are surreal and successful hommages. In Black Dog, Red Dog Dobyns expresses deep, considered anger about injustice. In the poems from Cemetery Nights he melds his realism and surrealism into poems like the astonishing How to Like It, in which a conversation with his dog leads a man into an ambiguous epiphany. The poems from Body Traffic are mostly about dissatisfaction; perhaps because they're effective I found these more difficult to like. And finally there are the new poems, which seemed to me like a summation of the concerns and successes of the early work.
Occaisonally I found a poem a little pat or slack or overreaching, but the next one always had something to show me, a way to touch me. Read Tenderly or Pastel Dresses or Sloth or Fragments or Streetlight or Noses and you'll want to read the rest of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dianaw on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a retrospective book of poems by one of the best poets in the United States, Stephen Dobyns. It covers the arc of his work from the mid-60s to the early 90s, and shows his evolution into a truly wonderful poet. Dobyns's work is sardonic, but witty (see Tenderly). A short poem can express everything you need to know about failing relationships (see The Place Between Us). Longer poems are sometimes almost like short novels in their use of narrative. In contrast to the strong emotions expressed in some poems, others are contemplative, evoking a time and place, leaving the reader space to draw his or her own conclusions (see Santiago: Forrestal Park). All readers should get to know the work of this poet. This is a good place to start. See also his newest work WINTER'S JOURNEY (2010).
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Velocities: New and Selected Poems: 1966-1992 (Poets, Penguin)
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