Saturday, May 10, 2003

Mark Doty

MARK DOTY was born in 1953. His mother's family, Irish immigrants, left during the potato famine to settle in Sweetwater, Tennessee. Mark Doty's father was an army engineer and their family moved often during his childhood.
I grew up with a sense that home was something one constructed or carried around inside. I grew up loving books because they were reliable company.
Doty is the author of six books of poems including
  • Source
  • Sweet Machine,
  • Bethlehem in Broad Daylight
  • Turtle, Swan
  • Atlantis (recipient of the Ambassador Book Award, Bingham Poetry Prize, and a Lambda Literary Award)
  • My Alexandria (chosen by Philip Levine for the National Poetry Series, and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and Britain's T.S. Eliot Prize).
Doty has also published three prose books: Heaven's Coast: A Memoir, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, the autobiography Firebird, and Still Life With Oysters and Lemon. He is the only American to have won the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Doty writes -
In the face of an increasingly homogeneous, market-driven culture, we need readers, we need to sign up anyone we can who cares about the portrayal of human individuality, of human stories. Start anywhere, I say, read anything. The entrances to the paradise of aesthetics are everywhere, some of them homespun, some of them rough attempts to sketch a self out of whatever material's at hand. But they lead someplace: toward heightened perceptiveness. At this moment I am grateful for poetry in any permutation, in any form, even poetry I don't like. It is a sign of hope, a sign which marks an attempt to blow on the coals of an old, old fire.
Mark Doty has received many other honors for his poetry including Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award. He is a National Book Award finalist, and the two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts and in Houston, Texas, where he teaches at the University of Houston.

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