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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quintessential poetry experience.......a must have for any serious reader or writer of contemporary American poetry!, April 21, 2008
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Mark Doty is one poet who continually astonishes me. I read his work and am always swept up in his lush vocabulary, the musicality of his language, the richness of details in the images he creates of the natural world. Suddenly, I realize, usually with an audible gasp, that he has taken me somewhere unexpected; he led me gently somewhere I can make meaning in a much more personal context. One way he does this, I believe, is by giving the reader emotional distance by using metaphors so deftly and so subtly. The reader finds beauty even in the darkest places.

Doty is the poet who led me to poetry, and I do believe that "Fire to Fire" is the book I'd take to the proverbial "desert island" with me. I've reread his paperback titles so many times that they are nearly disintegrating. After reading "Pipistrelle," "The Green Crab's Shell," "The Source," and so many other new and old favorites all beautifully bound in this hard cover volume, I do believe I'm doing triple lutzes! I'm off the ground!

This book is a must-have for anyone who reads, collects, and studies contemporary American poetry.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good clear poems without nebulous intellectualization, April 25, 2009
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Mark Doty's poems are clear and personal without being ambiguously intellectualized. Personal and intimate without being sentimental. Intelligent without being academic. This is not university workshop stuff. It comes from the outside world of a variety of cities, towns and provinces. The 300+ pages of selected poems offer a great general overview of the poet's work up to now. The back cover shows enthusiastic endorsements from Phillip Levine, Mary Oliver, Robert Pinski, and Alan Shapiro. Amazon makes the book easily available from various sources and economical.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BURNING BRIGHT, January 25, 2009
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Michael Salcman (Baltimore, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Mark Doty is one of our most courageous and important cultural voices, both because of his unflinching subject matter and the ground he occupies in the aesthetic debates of late modernism. This volume of New and Selected poems justly deserves the National Book Award it has recently received. It's important to note that "Turtle, Swan", his wonderful first volume, sadly underrepresented here by only two poems, came out just when public awareness of the AIDS crisis was hitting a crescendo (1987). In many respects, Doty occupies the same position in the poetry of that era that his near contemporary David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) does in the visual arts. Doty's elegies to lost friends and lovers, his straightforward depiction of city life in the 1980s and 1990s, and his lyrical infusion of homoeroticism into almost all of his poems, whatever their ostensible subject, reached an early apotheosis in his third book "My Alexandria" (1993). Both "Atlantis" (1995) and "Sweet Machine" (1998) continued in this ecstatic, powerful, life-affirming mode, the poems employing clear narrative, sharp diction, and strict attention to sound and natural details. Doty is dog-crazy, art-mad and besotted with flowers. His ekphrastic poems are among his best because he always takes the radiant side of beauty in any aesthetic debate. In the books of the current decade, the new work becomes somewhat more opaque, more self-consciously experimental, more dependent on the closing line or a starkly stated theme for impact. Still, even the last decade has work that bears comparison with his best. Among the latter, you will never forget your first encounter with "Night Ferry", "No", "A Green Crab's Shell", the first section of "Atlantis", "Crepe de Chine", or "White Kimono". There are dozens of others that bear re-reading and, if you are a writer, close study: Doty's technical brilliance is so understated it feels like close-up magic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An embarrassment of riches, January 24, 2009
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ishi (Connecticut, USA) - See all my reviews
This book was my introduction to Mark Doty, and it did not disappoint. His language is rich, dense, almost overwhelming sometimes. A poet myself, I find myself becoming jealous of his descriptions, so original and perfect are they. For example, in his poem "Theory of beauty (Grackles on Montrose)" his descriptions of the sounds the birds make include "drop the tin can", "really creaky hinge," and "limping siren." Not to mention "tea kettle in hell." Wonderful! If you get this book and like it, let me also recommend "The Water Sonnets" by Kenton Wing Robinson. They are tighter and more economical poems but vividly descriptive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Doty is Great, June 13, 2009
Mark Doty is a wonderful contemporary poet and wortwhile in libraries of all poetry fans
John
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fire Burns A Tragic Beauty in Doty's Latest Collection, November 29, 2009
Mark Doty's Fire To Fire is a carefully crafted presentation, a gallery of artistic finesse, showing Doty's solidity and influence in contemporary American poetry. This collection of poetry contains selections from each of his previous seven books of poetry with his newest poetry leading off the book. Contrary to the typical organization of poetry collections, Doty's Fire to Fire begins with fresh material so both old and new readers can engage with the writer Doty is today before they trace his development as a poet. The collection then continues with a chronological selection from each book beginning with Turtle, Swan and ending with School of the Arts. Doty's narrative style and his love of art, coupled with a dedication to craft and uncanny ability to extract beauty from urban decay makes for poetry that is not only easy to read but also poetry that resonates with a universal quest for meaning and truth in life. His connection with Modernism and the influence of Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams, is evident but decidedly more apparent in earlier works such as "Homo Will not Inherit" (one of my personal favorites) and "Atlantis." In his newer works the Modernists become a ghostly residue, apparitions that show up as characters in his poems, still filtering through their influence but no longer the main style represented. For example, in "Apparition" the subject of the poem is an encounter the speaker has with the ghost of Walt Whitman. Doty is growing, focusing more on philosophical ruminations than narrative that centers on a concrete topic. The growth is evident on the series of poems describing his various contemplations on beauty, marriage, the soul, the sublime, etc. Poems such as "Apparition (favorite poem)" and "Theory of Narrative" also imply that Doty is going through a sort of reflective time during which he is also marinating his thoughts on writing and art. Although a couple of the other reviews on this page indicate that Doty's newer works are not as strong as his previous collections, I believe are a demonstration of his growth and poetic development and are essential to his remaining a dynamic artist. When people come to know an artist they automatically prejudice the works that the artist or writer was producing at the time. I urge you to not get stuck in the nostalgia of his early poetry and do not let his prior work prejudice you to his new poetry. Suspend your criticism and enjoy the writer Doty has become.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful poems on death and desire, March 16, 2009
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M. Heartsworn (Tel-Aviv Israel) - See all my reviews
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Some of these poems I loved, simply loved. Doty writes terrific narrative poems, but, unfortunately, the more recent poems tend to concentrate on images and not on narrative and become somewhat precious. Still, he can make the top of your head rise with pleasure and understanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To truly understand, one must "dig deep"., August 19, 2014
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This review is from: Fire to Fire (Kindle Edition)
Read this for my philosophy class. At first I hated it. Once I expressed my frustration to my Professor, he suggested I do a little research on the author and his work — and so I did — now I totally "get it" he is a brilliant author! Watch some of his interviews on YouTube. Totally changed my whole perception of his work and gave me a great deal of understanding and appreciation of his work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry, June 15, 2014
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This was a gift. Cants say much about it because I gave it away. She seemed to like it fine
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love this man's poetry..., August 1, 2012
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This review is from: Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (Paperback)
Prompt delivery, great condition and good price. I spent many nights reading and digesting Doty's words. Great poet and have bought other of his books of poetry.
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Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems
Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems by Mark Doty (Paperback - February 1, 2009)
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