"I think most of our lives are made up of both things visible and things interior, with a large chunk of them being interior."
Stephen Dunn, born in 1939 in New York, N.Y., is a celebrated contemporary American poet who has garnered a number of awards over the years, one of these being the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2001 for his collection, "Different Hours."
Dunn grew up in New York and attended Hofstra University, where he received a B.A. in English and history. He was also a key player on the varsity basketball team while there. From 1964-1966, he participated in New School Writing Workshops and after this, in 1970, earned a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Syracuse University.
In 1971 Dunn's first book of poems, "Five Impersonations," was published. By 1974 he was a faculty member at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and in 1991 was designated Trustee Fellow in the Arts. Along with this designation, Dunn has been made an honorable professor of a numerous other universities.
Some of the awards he's recieved include:
- Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, 1996
- Academy Award in Literature, 1995
- The James Wright Prize, 1993
- The Iowa Review Subscribers Award
- National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship
-Distinguished Artist Fellowship and Creative Writing Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Stephen Dunn is one of my favorite poets. His ability to write about so many aspects of the human condition and form pieces that are elegant, haunting, forceful, philosophical and abstract, I find his work tremendously moving and inspirational. I first discovered Dunn when I came across his poem, "What Goes On," in The Georgia Review in 1998 and was immediately struck.
Here's an excerpt from the poem "Ars Poetica" from his collection Loosestrife to get an idea of his style:
"I'd come to understand restraint
is worthless unless
something's about to spill or burst,
and that the Commandments
understand us perfectly, a large No
for the desireability of everything
vengeful, delicious, out of reach.
I wanted to write ten things
that contained as much.
Maybe from the beginning
the issue was how to live
in a world so extravagant
it had a sky,
in bodies so breakable
we had to pray."
Stephen Dunn has had 16 books of poetry published (and I've loved everything I've read so far by him). Some of these are:
Work and Love
A Circus of Needs
Full of Lust and Good Usage
Looking for Holes in the Ceiling
Landscape at the End of the Century
Riffs and Reciprocities
help for this node came from www2.stockton.edu, www.writing.upenn.edu, and "Loosestrife" by Dunn.