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Mark Doty

31st annual Key West Literary Seminar

Writers on Writers

January 10–13, 2013
and
January 17–20, 2013

Mark Doty is a poet and the author of the National Book Award-winning Fire to Fire; New and Selected Poems. He is also author of four memoirs, including the New York Times bestseller Dog Days ; and numerous essays on poets including Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, and Wallace Stevens, some of which are collected in his most recent book, The Art of Description: World into Word.

Doty’s work in both poetry and prose is distinguished by an emphasis on the value of primary experience, close observation, and patient retelling. In stressing the importance of a writer’s work over her biographical details, Doty has said simply that “you don’t need to know a thing about the poet’s life or circumstances. Every poem inscribes a signature in the world. The work offers, ultimately, a precise portrayal.” He has spoken, too, of the joy in not knowing the facts of the writer on the other side of the page, of the “intoxicating uncertainty” one feels when encountering “a mind decidedly not like ours.” “And that is a relief, is it not,” Doty asks, “to acknowledge that we do not after all know what a self is?”

Doty is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize and he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill, and Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Other honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. His poems have been widely published, appearing in magazines including the Atlantic Monthly, the London Review of Books, Ploughshares, Poetry, and the New Yorker; and in anthologies including The Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry.

In 2012, Doty is the editor of the 25th annual Best American Poetry, recipient of the Jerome Shostack Prize from American Poetry Review, and a professor of English at Rutgers University.

Online Resources

Mark Doty’s blog
Audio: A reading by Doty @ KWLS 2008
Audio: Doty’s lecture ‘Tide of Voices’ @ KWLS 2008
Doty on Whitman: ‘Form, Eros, and the Unspeakable’
Doty on Bishop: ‘A Tremendous Fish’
Doty on William Blake: ‘Infernal Sympathies’

Selected Bibliography

poems:
Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (2008)
School of the Arts (2005)
My Alexandria (1993)
memoir:
Dog Years (2007)
Still Life with Oysters and Lemon (2001)
prose:
The Art of Description: World into Word (2010)

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