Winter's Journey

Stephen Dobyns

Stephen Dobyns’s fourteenth collection of poems embodies a hardheaded art that practices an unremitting faith in the power of words. By turns humorous, sadly ironic, furious, and wise, the poems in Winter’s Journey are delivered in a precise, straightforward voice unafraid of pointing out that the emperor isn’t wearing clothes.
Dobyns uses a sharp wit to introduce profound narrative meditations on love, politics, and art. His thrillingly absurdist cast includes Chekhov, Kant, Bashō, a werewolf, a possum, and an unforgettable rhinoceros (in a poem that is not at all about a rhinoceros). While Dobyns walks his dog on the beach, or otherwise goes about his life, he ponders “the imponderables” and with fierce dedication tells hard-won truths concerning what the world and our experiences in it can teach us about how to live.

ISBN: 9781556593055

Format: Paperback


Who has the time? He asked.
But none in the room wore a watch.
On the hearth lay a dog, its two
front paws making parallel lines.
It’s eleven o’clock, said another,
the day has scarcely begun.
But the dog was a black dog,
black with one blind eye.
It’s nearing midnight, said a third,
and which of us is ready?

About the Author

Stephen Dobyns was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1941. He graduated from Wayne State University and has an MFA from the University of Iowa. Dobyns has published thirteen books of poetry and twenty novels, including the popular Saratoga crime novels. He has worked as a reporter for The Detroit News and has taught at the University of Iowa, Sarah Lawrence College, Warren Wilson College, Syracuse University, and Boston University. Among his many honors and awards are fellowships from the …

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“These meditations are considerations of the big issues, the important questions that would be difficult to miss and wrong to ignore. Poets cannot be expected to provide the answers, but Dobyns does not shy away from elucidating the questions. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“[Dobyns’s poetry] has a somber, eccentric beauty not quite like anything else around these days.” —New York Times Book Review

“[Dobyns] blends philosophical musings with daft, deft metaphors and a cheeky vernacular.” —Poetry