Mystery, So Long

Overview

Thomas Lux has called Stephen Dobyns “one of the very finest poets writing in America today. His poems are brave, ravenous, intensely moving, and utterly his own.” The poems in his new volume, Mystery, So Long, use both free verse and traditional forms to examine life's complications and peculiar joys, in language that varies from the staid to the hysteric and in situations ranging from the commonplace to the mythic. Humor, surprise, the absurd, and the ferocious are used as so many picks and shovels to further ...

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Overview

Thomas Lux has called Stephen Dobyns “one of the very finest poets writing in America today. His poems are brave, ravenous, intensely moving, and utterly his own.” The poems in his new volume, Mystery, So Long, use both free verse and traditional forms to examine life's complications and peculiar joys, in language that varies from the staid to the hysteric and in situations ranging from the commonplace to the mythic. Humor, surprise, the absurd, and the ferocious are used as so many picks and shovels to further Dobyns's dark explorations in this powerful collection.

From “Mystery, So Long”

At first, it filled the space around us with holes,
the mystery. It was scary. People fell through them.
There goes Og, people might say. They sang hymns to the mystery. They pounded on drums. They fed the mystery both friends and strangers. It seemed a good idea. The mystery hungered for human flesh.
Oh, implacable and mysterious mystery.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143034629
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Series: Poets, Penguin Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Dobyns, author of eleven previous volumes of poetry and twenty novels, teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as numerous other awards.

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Table of Contents

The exigencies of art 1
An artist like any other 3
Unexpected holiday 5
Yellow beak 7
Do they have a reason? 8
Living in a nice place 9
Other 10
The happily ever after 12
Toward some bright moment 13
Dead rope 15
Penny for your thoughts 16
Alligator dark 17
Learning to cope 18
Payback 20
The balance 22
Family values 24
Hide and seek 26
Survivor 28
Reparations 29
Between 30
Face-to-face 31
At home with angels 32
The personal lyric vs. the public good 33
Commotion 35
Scofflaw 36
Hack work 38
Dance, dance 39
Shards of broken glass rejoined 40
Saying no 42
No moment past this one 43
Odds and ends 44
The birth of angels 46
Jonah's flight to Tarshish 47
Functional forgetting 48
The appreciation of beauty 49
Endnotes from the ancient world 50
The pig's complaint to his queen 51
Chuckleheads 53
Heaven's proletariat 54
Angel with book 56
The requisite grin 58
Old farts' ball 59
The mercy of lazarus 60
Driving past toward the bridge 61
The sideboard's mahogany surface 62
The sacrifice 64
Too much skepticism is like a punch to the head 66
For those whose mouths are packed with suckling pig 68
Punishments 69
The last take-out supper 70
A morning pre-beef 71
Cold nights 72
Country club 73
Poem ending with a line by Su Tung-Po 74
What had seemed permanent 75
Thomas the Doubter's irrefutable chink 76
What he had been promised 77
Aidoneus - Hades - unseen one 78
The cat with its toys 79
Pluto 80
Small 81
Three Christs of Ypsilanti 83
Mystery, so long 85
Field notes on divine evolution 87
The cunning one 89
Artist 90
Discord 91
Icarus's flight 92
Blemished and unblemished 93
Last wisdom 95
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