Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides (Poets, Penguin)

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Stephen Dobyns

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With his signature wit and insight, award-winning poet Stephen Dobyns probes the secrets of the heart

Consider the mysteries of the heart, that blood-pumping organ and, in Stephen Dobyns' latest collection of poems, the hapless romantic of our interior landscape. The Himalayas Within Him finds Heart worrying about the sound of his own heartbeat, wondering why it doesn't blare like a quartet of trombones as it reflects his ardent complexity. In Goodbye to the Hands That Have Touched Him Heart, after suffering many sleepless nights, decides that love exists at the root of his problems. Without love his path would be as smooth as a plate of glass and he'd sleep like a kitten. Dividing the Heart poems is the long Oh, Immobility, Death's Vast Associate, a jazzy disquisition on human isolation and inaction in the midst of a planet full of people feeling similarly. Throughout Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides Dobyns has painstakingly sculpted straightforward language into a distinct sound, creating an unforgettable collection of poems that offers readers unexpected revelations about the complexities of the heart.

. . . Why is Heart alone in the chest?
Because hope is an aspect of the single condition
and without hope, why move our feet? To see himself
as purely a fragment: such is Heart's obligation.
Let's quickly depart before we learn what happens.
Sometimes a car stops. Sometimes there is nothing.

--from Like a Revolving Door


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