Mark Doty Essay

I think we’re hungry for singularity, for those aspects of self that aren’t commodifiable, can’t be marketed.In an age marked by homogenization, by the manipulation of desire on a global level…poetry may represent the resolutely specific experience.

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However, after Wally’s death, Doty found himself unable to write or even read.

The solicitation of a poem by a friend who was editing an anthology led him to the writing, not of a poem, but of a book-length memoir, in which he came to grips, in prose, with Wally’s life and death.

Bernard Cooper in the Jaime Manrique described it as Doty’s “most satisfying book…In these pages, Doty’s writing surpasses anything he’s ever attempted before and achieves a depth and a clear-eyed splendor that left me bereft and exalted at the same time.

What had begun as an oft-told story becomes an authentic tragedy.”.

On its publication in 1987, reviewer David Baker commended Doty for “well-ordered poetry whose primary method is anecdotal, whose speaker is singular and personal, and whose vision is skeptical.” If there was a problem in Doty’s work, Baker hypothesized, it was the poet’s “detachment from his own story”—Doty, he claimed, approached his subjects as a “privileged observer and commentator.” Doty’s status as detached observer to his own work was significantly complicated by his next volume, Vernon Shetley observed, “Doty’s writing displays tremendous craft in ways that have become fairly unusual in our poetry…And one senses in the poetry as well an admirable assurance in the choices he makes.” Jonathan Bing, who interviewed Doty for as “a real change…I was casting about for what would come next.

And what came next for me was looking around at the present and adult life,” in contrast to the poems of remembered youth in his earlier 1987, Mark Doty has been recognized as one of the most accomplished poets in America. His syntactically complex and aesthetically profound free verse poems, odes to urban gay life, and quietly brutal elegies to his lover, Wally Roberts, have been hailed as some of the most original and arresting poetry written today.Hailed for his elegant, intelligent verse, Doty has often been compared to James Merrill, Walt Whitman and C. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Doty has also won a number of prestigious literary awards, including the Whiting Writer’s Award, the T. Eliot Prize, the National Poetry Series, the (2008).His volumes following we see an already masterful poet refusing to lapse into nostalgia or to unthinkingly reuse the poetic strategies that have served him so well in the past.Instead, we find Mark Doty exploring new territories and questioning himself at every turn.” Ruth Padel described Doty as a “poet of glow” in her review of Admitting that Doty’s work has “always celebrated surfaces and lyric glitter,” Padel maintained that “the surface glow does not merely delight us, but also leads us deeper in, to insight.In best-seller, the book dealt with themes familiar to many readers of Doty’s work: death, grief and memory.The book, however, begins by focusing on Doty’s two dogs, Beau and Arden, and the relationship the poet develops with them.Reviewing the book in the Decca Aitkenhead claimed that the book transcends its ostensible subject matter: “Bereavement, ultimately, is Doty’s subject.Through the narrative of his ailing dogs’ last days, Doty explores the different textures of hope and denial, despair and depression.” Danielle Chapman, in the however, found that book “with its breathless aestheticizing of dog life, its melodrama and its rehashing of old material…often comes dangerously close to parodying Doty’s best work.” Though increasingly successful as a memoirist, Doty has continued to publish award-winning collections of poetry.A long-time resident of Provincetown, Massachusetts, Doty teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey.As the son of an army engineer, Mark Doty grew up in a succession of suburbs in Tennessee, Florida, southern California, and Arizona.


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