Stephen Dobyns

Stephen Dobyns wrote cover features for the Reader from 1998 through 2008, including one on illegal boats in San Diego Bay and local amputees). Dobyns’ poetic works count among them the 1971 Concurring Beasts, a National Poetry Series award winner (Black dog, red dog), and a Melville Cane Award winner Cemetery Nights). Dobyns’ novel Cold Dog Soup has been made into two films, the American Cold Dog Soup and the French Doggy Bag.

Articles by Stephen Dobyns

She told me my arm was gone. We argued about that for five minutes. I mean, I could feel it.

Certain San Diegans feel their missing limbs.

Most stories begin with a person or an event. This one begins with a book. Last summer I read The Brain That Changes Itself by research psychiatrist and psychologist Norman Doidge, M.D., which discusses developments ...

So Long, Pals

A great future in plastics

Maybe it’s my age — the dark side of my sixties, an elder proto-baby boomer, those 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Maybe it’s because I’ve been tearing my hair filling out Medicare ...

Make Something Better

She was fierce about writers she didn't like, fierce about writers she said had done a bad job or were lazy.

I never met Judith Moore. To me she was a voice over the phone: slangy, half-cynical, eager to talk about her dog, and passionate about writing. I first talked to her in the summer of ...

Border Angels

They put out jugs of water in Otay Mesa, in Ocotillo, in Jacumba, in Campo.

"We know the kind of people we catch here. They're horrible people." The Border Patrol agent's tone was no more than blandly informative. It was 7:00 p.m. July 16, and we were at the edge ...

At times it was like shared music, at times like a skin graft or a root canal

Chunks of ice rode the whitecaps as the Nantucket ferry steamed out of the harbor in Woods Hole and into the Atlantic. The March wind had driven Isabel into the warmth of the cabin, while ...

Salvation Mountain

An old man and Somebody Upstairs.

My friend Rex says, "You'll love the Slabs in August. Some would call you adventurous and brave, and some completely out of your mind." The Slabs are Slab City, three miles east of Niland, between ...

Thomas Lux's The Cradle Place

Stephen Dobyns interviews Lux

"Much poetry is arbitrary, obscure, and inaccessible. It makes people feel stupid. That has a great deal to do with Modernism and Post-Modernism, even though many of the Modernists were great poets undeniably."

What You Do When You're Done Being a Playboy

Bob McElroy, head of the Alpha Project, and Martin Luther King III were walking slowly along the sidewalk as McElroy was telling King about homelessness in San Diego and the problems of alcohol and narcotics ...

Down and Out

John’s eyes were red and unfocused. He couldn’t stand still but took a few steps into the parking lot, then kicked the railing of the stairs leading to the second floor. “They set me up, ...

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