Cemetery Nights (Poets, Penguin)

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9780140585841: Cemetery Nights (Poets, Penguin)

Poetry

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From Publishers Weekly:

Line breaks notwithstanding, Dobyns's sixth volume of poetryhe is also author of the praised Saratoga series of detective novelshas the structure of a self-contained collection of prose poems. Not strictly linked, they comprise a mythology of Dobyn's own creation. Some recurrent characters include: the dead, angels and devils of questionable competence, God and a variety of faceless creatures meant to designate Everyman. The poet and his family put in appearances in several parable-like stories, and Dobyns reworks myths in stories about Midas, Orpheus, Odysseus and Theseus. Throughout his work, there is a disturbing amount of pessimism. The extent of random evil in his universe outdoes even the dourest of existential philosophers. Yet such is the power of Dobyns's conviction and his art that these poems have enormous staying power, challenging the reader to refute, if pos-sible, their nightmare vision.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Dobyns is a born fabulator, a spinner of macabre or sardonic tales all turning on the ancient theme of memento mori. Stylistically, he recalls Aesop, Poe, Borges, Clemensand Stephen King. In some poems, Dobyns retells classical myths (Apollo, Orpheus, Odysseus); in others he draws moral lessons from bizarre situations (a child with a third eye, a man transformed into a mermaid). The book is held together by five poems, "Cemetery Nights, I-V," scattered throughout. In each, "the dead pretend they're still alive." The half-lives of these ghosts are shown to co-exist (often humorously) with our own, as Dobyns eloquently reveals what it means to be "most human/ lost in the country between Want To and Can't." A fascinating, disturbing book; strongly recommended for all larger poetry collections. Daniel L. Guillory, English Dept., Millikin Univ., Decatur, Ill.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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