Stuart Dybek Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Stuart Dybek published a volume of poetry, Brass Knuckles, in 1979. His short story “Death of a Right Fielder” was televised in 1991, and his play Orchids was produced in 1990.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Editors have chosen many of Stuart Dybek’s stories for inclusion in anthologies. He won a Special Citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation as well as awards from the Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation, Friends of American Writers, the Whiting Foundation, and the Society of Midland Authors. In addition, he received a Nelson Algren Award, several O. Henry Awards, and the Church and the Artist Literary Competition Award. Dybek has been the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts grant.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Cook, Bruce. “Walks on the Southwest Side.” Washington Post Book World (January 13, 1980): 1-2. Places Dybek in the tradition of the Chicago writers, including Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Saul Bellow, in a review of Childhood and Other Neighborhoods.

Dybek, Stuart. “An Interview with Stuart Dybek.” Interview by Mike Nickel and Adrian Smith. Chicago Review 43 (Winter, 1997): 87-101. A revealing interview in which Dybek reflects on what it means to be a “Chicago writer,” his ethnic background and how it influences his writing, and his ideas about form and writing.

Dybek, Stuart. “Thread.” Harper’s 297 (September, 1998): 34-37. A brief memoir by Dybek recalling his Catholic upbringing and his first Holy Communion.

Gladsky, Thomas S. “From Ethnicity to Multiculturalism: The Fiction of Stuart Dybek.” MELUS 20 (Summer, 1995): 105-118. Offers a brief history of Polish immigration to the United States followed by a consideration of Polish American writers before turning to an examination of Stuart Dybek in this context. Connects ethnicity and memory and discusses the role of Catholicism in Dybek’s prose.

Kakutani, Michiko. “Lyrical Loss and Desolation of Misfits in Chicago.” The New York Times Book Review (April 20, 1990): C31. Draws a parallel between The Coast of Chicago and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), noting similarities in characters, lyricism, and “emotional forcefulness.”

Lee, Don. “About Stuart Dybek.” Ploughshares 24 (Spring, 1998): 192-198. An in-depth profile of Dybek and his subject matter. Provides biographical information as well as considering Dybek’s contribution to the “short short” genre of short stories.

Shapard, Robert, and James Thomas, eds. Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories. Salt Lake City: Gibbs M. Smith, 1986. The classic collection of the “short short” story. Includes Dybek’s short short “Sunday at the Zoo” as well as an afterword by Dybek on the genre.

Ward, Robert. “A Review of Childhood and Other Neighborhoods.” Northwest Review 18 (Fall, 1980): 149-157.

Weber, Katharine. “Windy City Dreaming.” The New York Times Book Review, May 20, 1990, 30. Reviews The Coast of Chicago, connecting memory, dreaming, and the dreamlike nature of Dybek’s stories.