Mark Doty

Distinguished Poet & Essayist
NY Times Bestselling Memoirist
National Book Award Winner

 

“A new book of poems—or of anything—by Mark Doty is good news in a dark time. The precision, daring, scope, elegance of his compassion and of the language in which he embodies it are a reassuring pleasure.” —W. S. Merwin

 

"One of the things that has been constant about Mark Doty's work, poetry and prose, is his intense search for the exact word or phrase, of whatever issue, which lead him (and us) into the very furnace of meaning within the human story." —Mary Oliver

 

“With his clarity of vision and great heart, Doty stands among us an emblematic and shining presence.” —Stanley Kunitz

 

Praised by the New York Times for his "dazzling, tactile grasp of the world," Mark Doty is a renowned author of poetry and prose. He is the author of three memoirs: the bestselling Dog Years (HarperCollins, 2007), Firebird (1999), and Heaven's Coast (1997), as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World Into Word, part of the popular "Art of" series published by Graywolf Press. Throughout his writings, he shows special interest in the visual arts, as is evident in his poems and also in this book-length essay, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon (2001). He is currently at work on a memoir that centers on his poetic relationship with Walt Whitman, entitled What Is the Grass.

The author of eight books of poetry, Mark Doty is the only American poet to have won Great Britain's T. S. Eliot Prize. His first collection, Turtle, Swan, appeared in 1987. My Alexandria (1993) received both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Since then he has published Atlantis (1995); Sweet Machine (1998); Source (2001); and the critically acclaimed volume of poems, School of the Arts (HarperCollins, 2005). Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems was published in 2008 and won the National Book Award for that year. In their citation, the National Book Award judges wrote, "Elegant, plain-spoken, and unflinching, Mark Doty's poems in Fire to Fire gently invite us to share their ferocious compassion. With their praise for the world and their fierce accusation, their defiance and applause, they combine grief and glory in a music of crazy excelsis." His next book of poetry, Deep Lane, is forthcoming.

Listen to Mark Doty discuss Fire to Fire

Mark Doty interview for the National Book Award

Mark Doty interview for the arts section of The Boston Globe

Gerald Stern says, "Mark Doty writes with absolute exactitude, with one eye on the ideal or absolute and one on the real; the ghost of Walt Whitman on one hand, and a laundromat on 16th Street in New York, on the other. There is not a finer, more delicate, more sublime poet writing today in the English language. It's a poet's job to show us what we knew but never saw before; and it's a poet's job to tell us over and over what love is. Doty is this poet." Philip Levine remarks, “If it were mine to invent the poet to complete the century of William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens, I would create Mark Doty just as he is, a maker of big, risky, fearless poems in which ordinary human experience becomes music.”

Mark Doty interview with New Letters 

In addition to the National Book Award, Doty has also received two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award, and the Witter Byner Prize. As the award citation for the last of these noted, "Mark Doty's poems extend the range of the American lyric." In 2011 Doty was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Doty teaches at Rutgers University and is a frequent guest at Columbia University, Hunter College, and NYU. 

About FIRE TO FIRE: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (Poetry, 2008)
National Book Award winner, Fire to Fire, collects the best of Mark Doty's seven books of poetry, along with a generous selection of new work. Our mortal situation, the evanescent beauty of the world, desire's transformative power, the dignity of the powerless, the instructive presence of animals, and art's ability to give shape to human lives: Doty's subjects echo and develop across twenty years of poems that speak to the crises and possibilities of our times.

About DOG YEARS: A MEMOIR (Memoir, 2007)
"To be loved by Doty, as a human or a canine, is to be elevated into a realm of utter glory, where one is cherished and cradled, sheltered and supported, and, most of all, where one's very essence is acknowledged and appreciated in a manner both simple and sublime. In his latest elegant and elegiac memoir, poet Doty recounts how the love of two dogs, Arden and Beau, sustained him during times of his most grievous losses, and how he, in turn, came to nurse them through their inevitable years of failing health. On the brink of a life-threatening depression, Doty recognized the necessity of caring for his beloved dogs, which then metamorphosed into a life-affirming realization that he was, in fact, the one being attended. Sprinkled among poignant and merry anecdotes about typical and peculiar doggie behavior are Doty's tender yet cogent reflections on the underlying truths such conduct reveals about the canine species, observations that transcendently celebrate the essential connection between man and pet."—Carol Haggas, Booklist

Mark Doty website