The Voices One Listens To

  • Stephen Dobyns


there are two quotes i keep returning to that touch upon the constraints I put on myself as a writer. The first is by Anton Chekhov, who wrote in a letter to his editor in the spring of 1888 “My only job is to be talented, that is to know how to distinguish important testimony from unimportant.”1


Creative Artist Word Choice Interpretive Bias Sharp Shear Final Poem 
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  1. 1.
    Anton Chekhov, Anton Chekhov’s Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary, trans. Michael Heim (Berkeley, 1975), p. 104.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Jane Bannard Greene and M. D. Herter Norton (New York, 1945), p. 124.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Charles Baudelaire, “Further Notes on Edgar Poe” in Selected Writings on Art and Artists, trans. P. E. Charvet (Cambridge, 1972), p. 200.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cézanne, ed. Clara Rilke, trans. Joel Agee (New York, 1885), p. 75.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Bill Knott, Poems 1963–1988, (Pittsburgh, PA, 1989).Google Scholar

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© Stephen Dobyns 2003

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  • Stephen Dobyns

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