School of the Arts: Poems
  • School of the Arts: Poems
  • School of the Arts: Poems

School of the Arts: Poems

by Mark Doty
     
 

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With School of the Arts, Mark Doty's darkly graceful seventh collection, the poet reinvents his own voice at midlife, finding his way through a troubled passage. At once witty and disconsolate — formally inventive, acutely attentive, insistently alive — this is a book of fierce vulnerability that explores the ways in which we are educated by the

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Overview

With School of the Arts, Mark Doty's darkly graceful seventh collection, the poet reinvents his own voice at midlife, finding his way through a troubled passage. At once witty and disconsolate — formally inventive, acutely attentive, insistently alive — this is a book of fierce vulnerability that explores the ways in which we are educated by the implacable powers of time and desire in a world that constantly renews itself.

Editorial Reviews

Ilya Kaminsky
“Achieve[s] a quiet grandeur with a voice marked by the clarity and thoughtful lyricism that distinguished his earlier collections.”
Alan Shapiro
“Memorable, essential, big hearted, joyous in music ... this is the finest book of poems by one of our finest poets.”
Publishers Weekly
Doty's vivid, inviting, descriptive verse, his celebrations of gay men's sexuality, and his heartfelt, skillful elegies, many of them in response to the HIV crisis, were '90s mainstays. Though he begins this consistently moving seventh collection with poems about famous friends (Stanley Kunitz, the novelist Michael Cunningham), Doty soon reveals the book's major subjects: paintings and painters, life in New York City, aging bodies (his own and others') and the last years or months of Arden, his beloved dog. "Paintings of dying things," Doty remarks, show how "Flesh fails and failure/ is visited upon it"; "the principal beauty of New York lies/ in human faces," though the poet also finds it in sunflowers, in a lost tropical bird, in a darkened bar. Doty has also penned two memoirs (Heaven's Coast; Firebird), and many poems stay close to incidents in his own life; contrasts between day and night (or artists' versions of both), between an imagined heaven and an observed earth, also give the volume a clear structure. "You aren't supposed/ to talk about beauty, are you?" "The Pink Poppy" asks, though it is Doty's choice, and sometimes his triumph, that he talks about it anyway. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The poetic education in this new collection from the award-winning Doty (Still Life with Oysters and Lemon) begins with the lessons he learned from others such as Stanley Kunitz and painter Helen Miranda Wilson, who taught that "heaven/ would be complete immersion/ in physical process participation in being, say,/ diesel fuel, the impatience of trucks/ on August pavement." Doty shares other lessons, such as showing what W.H. Auden called "an affirming flame" while staying completely immersed in the world. This allows Doty to achieve a quiet grandeur with a voice marked by the clarity and thoughtful lyricism that distinguished his earlier collections. Doty's gift for abstractions remains strong-beauty, for instance, is a "hook that pulls us out of time." Yet he breaks new ground here with some formal pieces. The book is filled with daily activities, neighbors, friends, and, surprisingly, a great many dogs, featured in poems that combine high and low styles to wonderful effect: "Today I am herding the two old dogs/ into the back of the car And as I go to praise them,/ the words/ that come from my mouth,/ from nowhere, are Time's children." Recommended for all poetry collections.-Ilya Kaminsky, writer in residence, Phillips Exeter Acad., NH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060752460
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/28/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.29(d)

Read an Excerpt

School of the Arts

Poems
By Mark Doty

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Mark Doty
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060752467

Heaven for Helen

Helen says heaven, for her,
would be complete immersion
in physical process,
without self-consciousness -

to be the respiration of the grass,
or ionized agitation
just above the break of a wave,
traffic in a sunflower's thousand golden rooms.

Images of exchange,
and of untrammeled nature.
But if we're to become part of it all,
won't our paradise also involve

participation in being, say,
diesel fuel, the impatience of trucks
on August pavement,
weird glow of service areas

along the interstate at night?
We'll be shiny pink egg cartons,
and the thick treads of burst tires
along the highways in Pennsylvania:

a hell we've made to accompany
the given: we will join
our tiresome productions,
things that want to be useless forever.

But that's me talking. Helen
would take the greatest pleasure
in being a scrap of paper,
if that's what there were to experience.

Perhaps that's why she's a painter,
finally: to practice disappearing
into her scrupulous attention,
an exacting rehearsal for the larger

world of things it won't be easy to love.
Helen I think will master it, though Imay not.
She has practiced a long time learning to see.
I have devoted myself to affirmation,

when I should have kept my eyes on the ground.

Continues...


Excerpted from School of the Arts by Mark Doty Copyright © 2006 by Mark Doty. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Ilya Kaminsky
“Achieve[s] a quiet grandeur with a voice marked by the clarity and thoughtful lyricism that distinguished his earlier collections.”
Alan Shapiro
“Memorable, essential, big hearted, joyous in music ... this is the finest book of poems by one of our finest poets.”

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