Checklist

By Stephen Dunn b. 1939 Stephen Dunn
The housework, the factory work, the work
that takes from the body
and does not put back.
The white-collar work and the dirt
of its profits, the terrible politeness
of the office worker, the work that robs
the viscera to pay the cool
surfaces of the brain. All the work
that makes love difficult, brings on
sleep, drops the body off
at the liquor cabinet. All the work
that reaches the intestines and sprawls.
And the compulsive work after the work
is done, those unfillable spaces
of the Calvinist, or certain marriage beds.

Stephen Dunn, "Checklist" from New and Selected Poems 1974-1994. Copyright © 191981 by Stephen Dunn.  Used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: New & Selected Poems (1994)

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Poet Stephen Dunn b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Jobs & Working, The Body, Activities, Nature

 Stephen  Dunn

Biography

Poet Stephen Dunn was born in 1939 in New York City. The first of his family to go to college, Dunn attended Hofstra University on a basketball scholarship and later worked in advertising. In an interview with Poets and Writers, Dunn discussed the leap from being an ad-man to poet: “My first job out of college was writing in-house brochures for Nabisco in New York, and I kept getting promoted. I was in danger, literally, of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Jobs & Working, The Body, Activities, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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