From the Publisher
Books like this, that address the sources of creation and the sources of our humanness, come along once in a decade. -Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
"This small book is as wise, sensitive, intense, and affecting as anything I have read in recent years." -Doris Grumbach, author of Fifty Days of Solitude
"A gem." -Library Journal
"Mark Doty's prose is insistently exploratory, yet every aside, every detour, turns into pertinence, and it all seems effortless, as though the author were wondering, and marveling, aloud." -Bernard Cooper, author of Truth Serum
"A dazzling accomplishment, its radiance bred of lucid attention and acute insight. The subject is the profoundly personal act of perception translated into description. Doty succeeds in rendering this most contemplative of arts-the still life-into a riveting drama." -Patricia Hampl, author of I Could Tell You Stories
A tip of the hat is also due to Mark Doty's meditation on what he calls 'the astonishing republic of things,' Still Life With Oysters and Lemon.
Books like this, that address the sources of creating and the sources of our humanness, come along once a decade.
Although at first glance this slim volume appears to be a quick read, it should be lingered over and reread to uncover the full depth of its beauty and insight. Combining memoir with artistic and philosophical musings, the poet and National Book Critics Circle Award winner (for My Alexandria) begins by confessing his obsession with the 17th-century Dutch still life that serves as the title of this book. As he analyzes the items depicted in the painting, he skillfully introduces his thoughts on our intimate relationships to objects and subsequently explains how they are often inextricably bound to the people and places of an individual lifetime. Further defined by imperfections attained from use, each object from an aging oak table to a chipped blue and white china platter forms a springboard for reflection. Doty intersperses personal reminiscences throughout, but he always returns to the subject of still-life painting and its silent eloquence. Doty's observations on balance, grief, beauty, space, love, and time are imparted with wisdom and poetic grace. This little book is a gem. For circulating libraries. Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.