Norman Evans Dubie, Jr., was born on April 10, 1945, in Barre, Vermont. His father, Norman Evans Dubie, Sr., was a clergyman, and his mother, Doris Dubie, was a registered nurse. Dubie was educated in Vermont and received his undergraduate degree at Goddard College in Plainfield, graduating in 1969. In 1968, while a student at Goddard, Dubie married Francesca Stafford, and the couple had one child, Hannah, Dubie’s only child.
Leaving Vermont after his graduation, Dubie studied creative writing in the M.F.A. program of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. He received his degree in 1971 and began lecturing in the workshop afterward. From 1971 though 1972, Dubie was the poetry editor of Iowa Review; from 1973 through 1974, he edited Now. During this period, his first marriage ended in divorce.
When Dubie left the University of Iowa, he became an assistant professor of English at Ohio University in Athens. He retained this position from 1974 through 1975; during this period, Dubie published three volumes of poetry: The Prayers of the North American Martyrs, Popham of the New Song, and Other Poems, and In the Dead of the Night. Following the publication of these collections, Dubie left Ohio University and accepted a position at Arizona State University.
Dubie was writer-in-residence at Arizona State from 1975 until 1976. He was a lecturer there from 1976 until 1983 and was then promoted to the rank of full professor of English. In 1976, he became the director of Arizona State’s graduate writing program.
In 1975, Dubie was remarried, to Pamela Stewart, a poet and a teacher. Five years later, this marriage also ended in divorce. In 1981, Dubie remarried again, this time to Jeannine Savard, also a poet.
Dubie frequently contributes to many magazines, including Paris Review, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Antaeus, Antioch Review, Field, and Poetry.
Norman Evans Dubie, Jr., was born the son of Norman Dubie, Sr., a clergyman, and Doris, a registered nurse. He was educated at Goddard College and the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, where he subsequently lectured. He also taught as an assistant professor of English at Ohio University. In 1975, he went to Arizona State University as writer-in-residence and became professor of English and director of the school’s graduate writing program. Dubie first married Francesca Stafford, by whom he had one child. In 1975, he married the poet Pamela Stewart; they were divorced in 1980. In 1981, Dubie married Jeannine Savard.
Dubie, who characterizes himself as having no politics and some religion, claims that he decided to become a poet when he was eleven years old. He credits the decision primarily to a teacher who read great literature aloud. He attributes his fascination with the past to his father’s large library.
Dubie is noted for his dramatic monologues, which involve famous literary or artistic figures placed in tableaux that form panoramas of their eras. Unlike Robert Browning, however, Dubie blurs the line between the historical and the imaginative. This blending results in a dreamlike quality, which produces visionary poetry at its best and confusion at its worst. Dubie’s narrative self-effacement distances the reader from the speaker. This poetic “objectivity” is misleading, for one eventually realizes that it is the poet’s consciousness through which the historical or literary figures and their times and places are being filtered. The sense of poetic objectivity and the subsequent discovery of its illusion represents Dubie’s complex verse and vision.
Dubie’s poetic distance has been both praised and criticized. Some critics find Dubie’s distance cold, even callous. This obliteration of self, although alienating to some, is considered by others to be indispensable to the poetry’s dreamlike quality and a major influence in creating the shared consciousness of the poem, which seems to be a transpersonal voice.
Dubie’s vision is also multifaceted, a...
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