Atlantis: Poems by

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The poignant, accomplished new collection of poetry from the author of My Alexandria--1993 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Times Book Award, 1993 National Book Award Finalist.
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The poignant, accomplished new collection of poetry from the author of My Alexandria--1993 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Times Book Award, 1993 National Book Award Finalist.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for My Alexandria, Doty offers "eloquent meditations on the essential themesmortality and life, beauty and loss" (LJ 4/14/93)in poems haunted by the specter of AIDS.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060951061
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 991,044
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Doty's books of poetry and nonfiction prose have been honored with numerous distinctions, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and, in the United Kingdom, the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2008, he won the National Book Award for Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. He is a professor at the University of Houston, and he lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt


My salt marsh

--mine, I call it, because

these day-hammered fields

of dazzled horizontals

undulate, summers,

inside me and out--

how can I say what it is?

Sea lavender shivers

over the tidewater steel.

A million minnows ally

with their million shadows

(lucky we'll never need

to know whose is whose).

The bud of storm loosens:

watered paint poured

dark blue onto the edge

of the page. Haloed grasses,

gilt shadow-edged body of dune. . .

I could go on like this.

I love the language

of the day's ten thousand aspects,

the creases and flecks

in the map, these

brilliant gouaches.

But I'm not so sure it's true,

what I was taught, that through

the particular's the way

to the universal:

what I need to tell is

swell and curve, shift

and blur of boundary,

tremble and spilling over,

a heady purity distilled

from detail. A metaphor, then:

in this tourist town,

the retail legions purvey

the far-flung world's

bangles: brilliance of Nepal

and Mozambique, any place

where cheap labor braids

or burnishes or hammers

found stuff into jewelry's

lush grammar,

a whole vocabulary

of ornament: copper and lacquer,

shells and seeds from backwaters

with fragrant names, millefiori

milled into African beads, Mexican abalone,

camelbone and tin, cinnabar

and verdigris, silver,

black onyx, coral,

gold: one vast conjugation

of the verb

to shine.

And that

is the marsh essence--

all the hoarded riches

of the world held

and rivering, a gleam

awakened and doubled

by water, flashing

off the bowing of the grass.

Jewelry, tides, language:

things that shine.

What is description, after all,

but encoded desire?

And if we say

the marsh, if we forge

terms for it, then isn't it

contained in us,

a little,

the brightness? <<P>

Four Cut Sunflowers, One Upside Down

Turbulent stasis on a blue ground.

What is any art but static flame?

Fire of spun gold, grain.

This brilliant flickering's

arrested by named (Naples,

chrome, cadmium) and nameless

yellows, tawny golds. Look

at the ochre sprawl--how

they sprawl, these odalisques,

withering coronas

around the seedheads' intricate precision.

Even drying, the petals curling

into licks of fire,

they're haloed in the pure rush of light

yellow is. One theory of color,

before Newton broke the world

through the prism's planes

and nailed the primaries to the wheel,

posited that everything's made of yellow

and blue--coastal colors

which engender, in their coupling,

every other hue, so that the world's

an elaborated dialogue

between citron and Prussian blue.

They are a whole summer to themselves.

They are a nocturne

in argent and gold, and they burn

with the ferocity

of dying (which is to say, the luminosity

of what's living hardest). Is it a human soul

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Table of Contents

Description 3
Four Cut Sunflowers, One Upside Down 6
A Green Crab's Shell 8
Rope 10
A Display of Mackerel 14
Couture 16
Grosse Fuge 20
At the Boatyard 29
A Letter from the Coast 32
To the Storm God 35
In the Community Garden 38
Breakwater 40
Long Point Light 44
Atlantis 49
Two Cities 67
Tunnel Music 70
Crepe de Chine 71
Migratory 74
Homo Will Not Inherit 76
Fog Argument 83
Wreck 86
Two Ruined Boats 88
March 92
Nocturne in Black and Gold 94
Aubade: Opal and Silver 99
Notes 103
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    A black ship lands

    Out of it steps Rissencrest, looking worried about something. He is holding a link ring. He proceeds to city square.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

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    Mark Doty's, Atlantis, is heart-wrenching, thoughtful, powerful, and enlightening. His poems are very powerful as he talks of losing his partner to AIDS, how the diagnosis changed their lives, and also of things he has experience. This is definitely a must read. He uses amazing imagery to make you feel as if you were there watching the scenes he describes; there's no need to try and understand his deeper meaning as he pretty much lays the subject and emotions right in front of the reader. Some of the best poetry I've read, and very, very touching.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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