“Essential to contemporary poetry collections.”Library Journal
In his fourteenth collection, Stephen Dunn, “one of our indispensable poets” (Miami Herald), continues to probe brilliantly the unsaid and the elusive in the lives we live, in language that Gerald Stern has called “unbearably fearless and beautiful.”
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Stephen Dunn is the author of nineteen poetry collections, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Different Hours, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the recipient of an Academy Award for Literature. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic, and American Poetry Review, among many other publications. A distinguished professor emeritus at Richard Stockton University, he lives in Frostburg, Maryland.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Prior to reading Everything Else in the World, I had only come across Stephen Dunn poems by chance. An anthology here, a poets.org search there. Finally, after discovering the poem "The Kiss," I knew it was time to take a deeper look at this particular poet and so I bought Dunn's fourteenth collection of poems, which happens to contain the one that pushed me over the edge.With only a few poems to form an opinion, I was not quite expecting what I found here in this collection. It all feels distinctly similar to Billy Collins, though Dunn seems to make more of what it means to be an adult in today's world. Playful at times, but always incredibly attentive to subtle shifts of thought and understanding. There's honesty and precision, coupled with a deep emotion and need to communicate more than just a field of vision. Dunn seems more interested in the people that inhabit the world and how they shape it as opposed to the world as it exists apart from them (perhaps noting that there really is no such world any longer). Indeed, more time seems spent in a mental world than a physical one, though one is overlaid on the other.Having now spent more time with Dunn's poetry, I can say with absolute certainty that I'll be seeking out even more of it. To give you a taste, here are some of my favorites, including the poem that brought me here and the one that lends its name to the collection:"Everything Else in the World"Too young to take pleasurefrom those privileged glimpseswe're sometimes given after failure,or to see the hidden opportunityin now getting what we want,each day I subwayed into Manhattanin my new, blue serge suit,looking for work. College, I thought,had whitened my collar, set me up,but I'd majored in history.What did I know about the world?At interviews, if asked about the world,I might have responded--citing Carlyle--Great men make it go, I want to be one of those.But they wanted someone entry-level,pleased for a while to be small.Others got the jobs;no doubt, later in the day, the girls.At Horn & Hardarts, for solaceat lunchtime, I'd make a sandwich emergefrom its cell of pristine glass.It took just a nickel and a dime.Nickels and dimes could makea middleman disappear, easy as that,no big deal, a life or twodestroyed, others improved.But I wasn't afraid of capitalism.All I wanted was a job like a bookso good I'd be finishing itfor the rest of my life.Had my education failed me?I felt a hankering for the sublime,its dangerous subversionsof the daily grind.Oh I took a dull, well-paying job.History major? the interviewer said, I thinkyou might be good at designing brochures.I was. Which filled me with desirefor almost everything else in the world."You'd Be Right"He often needed two women. Just one--how unfair to expect from her so much!Intelligence before and after sex,a certain naughtiness during,gifts of companionship and solitude.But he liked the day-to-day of marriageand its important unimportances,quiet moments made livableby the occasional promise of a fiesta.And though he knew it wasn't enoughfor her either, and always assumedshe had similar thoughts, if not secrets,nevertheless you may be thinking cad,maybe even monster, you who've been happy,or differently unhappy, or obeyed all your lifesome good rule. And you'd be rightif you guessed his wife's eventual coolness,her turning away, and, when he didn't leave,the slow rise of the other woman's disappointment,which would turn to anger, then to sadness.You'd be right, but can you imagine what joysaccrue to the needy over a lifetime of seeking love?Can you say you're not envious, or that you're sureit wasn't worth what he risked and lost?"Cut and Break"Each morning the sullen but excellent masonsarrived at six to cut and lay stonefor the riding walls of our walkway.Hung over, they worked deliberately, didn't carethat anyone might be sleeping or disturbed.We learned not to speak to them before noon.It was western Maryland; for me a new home,new lo