Fire to Fire

Fire to Fire

3.6 3
by Mark Doty
     
 

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Mark Doty's Fire to Fire collects the best of his seven books of poetry, along with a generous selection of new work. His signature style encompasses both the plainspoken and the artfully wrought, as one of contemporary American poetry's most lauded, recognizable voices speaks to the crises and possibilities of our time.

Overview

Mark Doty's Fire to Fire collects the best of his seven books of poetry, along with a generous selection of new work. His signature style encompasses both the plainspoken and the artfully wrought, as one of contemporary American poetry's most lauded, recognizable voices speaks to the crises and possibilities of our time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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Reviewed byReginald Shepherd

Doty's first book, Turtle, Swan, appeared in 1987. He has published six books of poetry and four memoirs, all excellent, since. This hefty selection from his seven collections, plus a generous sheaf of new poems, should solidify his position as a star of contemporary American poetry.

Doty's poetic career really took off with My Alexandria (1993), his third book, which made his reputation. Fire to Firecontains only two poems from his first two books-"Adonis Theatre," about an old movie palace turned gay porno theater, and "The Death of Antinous," about the Roman emperor Hadrian's lover's afterlife in statuary, both of which are meditations on representation, absence and desire. Desire, and its capacity to transform and transfigure, is one of Doty's main themes. Enough desire (so often mixed, as T.S. Eliot wrote, with memory) can make us as beautiful as the objects of our desire.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Doty has never eschewed beauty. Indeed, beauty, its unlikely, often unexpected, yet constant recurrence and its elusive fleetingness, is central, as demonstrated by several new poems titled "Theory of Beauty," each with a parenthetical specific occasion. Beauty is found everywhere in Doty's poems, in a band playing cast-off chemical drums in Times Square, even in Chet Baker falling from an Amsterdam hotel window: "a blur of buds//breathing in the lindens/and you let go and why not."

The title poem "Fire to Fire," from School of the Arts(2005) is a gorgeous meditation on the way that life's fire infuses the world, in sunflowers, goldfinches, and evena neighbor's puppy: "fire longs to meet itself/flaring, longing wants a multiplicity of faces,//branching and branching out." The selections from "The Vault" (which really needs to be read in its entirety) reveal the poetry in men meeting other men's bodies in a sex club, incorporating references to the Middle English poem "Western Wind" and to James Wright's "A Blessing," and including a subtle revision of Rilke's "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes" in which the men are deep in the club's "mine of souls," "that shaft where inner and outer//grow indissoluble."

At times the poems unnecessarily explain what their vivid images and striking phrases makes clear, but the commitment to the particular, and to its possibilities, is unwavering. As Doty writes in "Ararat," "Any small thing can save you." The poems combine close attention to the fragile, contingent things of the world with the constant, almost unavoidable chance of transcendence, since "desire can make anything into a god."

Reginald Shepherd's most recent books areFata Morgana, poems, and the just-publishedOrpheus in the Bronx, prose on poetry.

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Library Journal

"Pages falling into sleep and dust,/ dust and sleep, burning so slowly/ you wouldn't even know there was a fire." Yet every one of the poems here is ablaze, each illuminating its subject and fixing it in our minds before it disappears. This book won the National Book Award for the already trophy-laden Doty. (LJ4/1/08)


—Barbara Hoffert

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061856631
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,003,661
File size:
396 KB

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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Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*sits at the top of a rock staring at the moon.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an unfortunate invitation to visit private places, guilt and shame. Why go there.