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School of the Arts: Poems Paperback – Bargain Price, March 28, 2006

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Paperback, Bargain Price, March 28, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

From 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

If the expression of an artist's personal search for truth can manifest as a discovery process for the reader, Doty, a highly regarded writer with six poetry collections and three creative nonfiction works to his name, has mastered that approach and more. Here Doty presents poems that intertwine feeling and intellect through the symbolism of the everyday world. Whether observing the futile action of his old dog trying to climb a flight of stairs or recording the changes in a beloved Cape Cod town, Doty notices the physicality of time and place while connecting his observations to universal questions, longings, truths. Although this collection may be the sparsest yet in terms of word use, the poems are ever more sophisticated in their structure. Doty's writing continues to evolve. Rather than sticking with the voice that made him successful, he pushes the boundaries of thought and form, always searching and considering and never wavering in his attempt to not only understand the world but determine the best way to "be" in it. Janet St. John
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (March 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060752467
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,617,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By B. A Riesgraf on August 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wow! I really can't understand why Mark Doty's most recent poetry collection hasn't been reviewed here yet, in light of its considerable popularity among the critics. Everyone seems to be hailing this book as a seminal author-finally-finding-his-own-unique-voice sort of work, a more precise definition of Doty's stylistic approach, but it seems to me to be fairly in line with the rest of his output. Still, it never feels tired or stale in the least, and several individual numbers stand out as some of the author's best to date.

School of the Arts begins and ends with two poems titled "Heaven for Helen" and "Heaven for Arden", and these help to form a thematic arc for the book as a whole, together with a few more "Heaven for..." titles interspersed throughout the middle. All of those are highlights, as well as Ultrasound, Flit, In the Same Space, Now You're An Animal, and The Pink Poppy, which may be Doty's finest meditation on beauty yet.

Cozy up with this book sometime when you're feeling pleasantly contemplative, and you will find that, as always, Doty's verse causes everything around you to take on a light of indescribable beauty, singularity, and truth. Highly recommended.
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