Stephen Dobyns was born on February 19, 1941, in Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from Wayne State University and has an MFA from the University of Iowa.
Dobyns has published ten books of poetry and twenty novels. His books of poetry include Cemetery Nights (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2023); Winter’s Journey (Copper Canyon Press, 2010); Mystery, So Long (Penguin Books, 2005); The Porcupine’s Kisses (Penguin Poets, 2002); Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides (Penguin, 1999); Common Carnage (Penguin Poets, 1996); Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966–1992 (Viking, 1994); Cemetery Nights (Penguin Books, 1987), which won a Melville Cane Award; Black Dog, Red Dog (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1984), which was a winner in the National Poetry Series; Heat Death (Atheneum, 1980); and Concurring Beasts (Atheneum, 1972), which was the 1972 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets.
Dobyns’s novels include Saratoga Longshot (Little, Brown Book Group, 2013); Boy in the Water (Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt & Company, 1999); The Church of Dead Girls (Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt & Company, 1997); Saratoga Fleshpot (Little, Brown Book Group, 1995); The Wrestler’s Cruel Study (W. W. Norton, 1993); and Saratoga Haunting (Viking, 1993). His novels have been translated into more than ten languages. Dobyns is also the author of a collection of short stories, Eating Naked: Stories (Henry Holt & Company, 2000); and a book of essays, Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry (St. Martin’s Press, 1996).
Among Dobyns’s many honors and awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Dobyns has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Iowa and Boston University. He lives in Boston.