What I like best with Dobyns’ essay Deception is its simple and direct style. His text is easy accessible, easy to understand and agree or disagree with. Nothing fancy, no profound bottomlessness which so often is the case in contemporary literary theory. Deception is talking directly to me as a reader and writer, not hiding itself behind a veil of impersonal theoretical claims and statements. I would love to achieve a similar bold clearness in my own texts.
A work of art gives testimony to what it is to be a human being. It bears witness, it extracts meaning. A work of art is also the clearest nonphysical way that emotion is communicated from one human being to another. The emotion isn’t referred to; it is re-created. The emotion shows us that our most private feelings are in fact shared feelings. And this offers us some relief from our existential isolation.
(Stehpen Dobyns, Best Words, Best Order: 10)