Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon Hardcover – January 1, 2001


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover, January 1, 2001
"Please retry"
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 70 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 2nd prt. edition (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0641518870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0641518874
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,085,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Thank you Mr. Doty for such a beautiful book!
Ann Scott
I am an author of fiction and also an artist--illustrator and painter.
C.M. Stine
Every line I wanted to read and re-read to savor.
Sanjeev Naik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mark Doty begins this book by describing a 350 year old Dutch painting "Still Life with Oysters and Lemon" that he has fallen in love with at the Metropolitan Museum. He then meanders to memories of his "Mamaw" from long ago in East Tennessee-- surely only Southerners call grandparents by that name-- to a poem by Cavafy, to buying an old Italianate Victorian House in Vermont with his partner who later died of AIDS. Along the way, Mr. Doty muses on the subject of balance: the desire to be in a relationship and the need to be free, the balance of order versus clutter, of staying rooted in one place and the need to travel-- and the joy of collecting simple, everyday imperfect things picked up in flea markets rather than perfect expensive objects.
There are so many good things to say about this little 70 page gem that one hardly knows where to begin. Too often I read a work of nonfiction and wish it had remained a short magazine article. That is not so with this book. I wanted it to go on and on. Whether or not the author is correct in his analysis of still life painting, he is completely convincing. Of course, his language is always both concise and beautiful and never gets in the way of what he is saying. Near the end of the book Mr. Doty says "What makes a poem a poem, finally, is that it is unparaphrasable. . . I may try to explain it or represent it in other terms, but then some element of its life will always be missing. It is the same with painting." Such a statement perfectly describes this little masterpiece.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mark Doty has done the impossible. In STILL LIFE WITH OYSTERS AND LEMON he has not only written an extended essay (read epic poem) about his encounter with a simple Dutch Still Life painting, but he has also produced what must become the definitive map for looking, seeing, studying and describing the essence of art in a way that encourages us all to return to the pursuit of beauty. Doty has proved his credentials in art hisory and art technique so that he is able to find the essence of a still life, rhapsodize on the quality of light as captured by an everyday object that makes a centuries old painting seem immediate to our own home, and in doing so reveals his own history of memories, lovers, favorite objects, the passage of time as participants in the transitory moment we call life. So many art critics and art historians have attempted to find this plane of understanding and enlightment with only minimal degrees of success. As a curator and essayist about art I am humbled and in awe. Mark Doty is one of the finest poets in America today and knows his way with words, with phrases that illuminate his stances, with defining emotions inaudible to most of us. But this small book is more than an homage to a particular still life painting (though on that merit alone he wins the competition!). This is a tender, thoughtful journey toward discovering beauty that daily surrounds us, a call to accept the transitory nature in all things and to experience them while we may. No fatalism here, just a door opened to appreciate the cycle of being alive...which just happens to warmly include the aspect of dying as part of that totality.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Beth DeRoos HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is such a timely book for me because I was watching one of the plethora of decorating shows on tv one slow day, while cleaning and kept asking myself why so many homes by decorators have items that have no personal or deeply held memories for the people they are decorating for.

Its as if in this materialistic world we Americans live in, we see homes with 'filler' stuff. Stuff which is meant to make the place look special like in a magazine.

Thus I stood back and savored the pieces we have in our home and reminded myself of what Sister Wendy's works on art and artists had reminded me, which was to be still and realllllly look at a piece if art. Ponder the person who created it. Look at that painting and see the hidden treasures within it.

A book to love.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J Charles on January 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Doty's work to be disappointing. Mostly this is due to the fact that I think the ideas in the essay are wonderful. I love what he's attempting to do, this difficult "assay" at making very ephemeral sensations about art concrete, to make them comprehensible, to wrap his head and the reader's around them. The glorification of objects, of "bodies," is done wonderfully at times. At other times, to be completely honest, Doty's world was alive and magical to the point it gave me nausea. An example:

"Therein lies a large portion of the painting's poetry; these things form not a single whole but a concert, a community of separate presences; we are intended to compare their degrees of roundness, solidity, transparency, and opacity."

Okay, this is nice. Slightly meandering, but the form fits the function (I think), so that's just great.

Continuing with the same paragraph:

"They [the separate objects within the still life] are each a separate city, a separate child in a field of silent children. They speak back and fourth--do they?--across he distance between them. At dinner at my friends', I was seated with my back to the painting, but I felt its magnetism; I was trying to converse, I was conversing, but I felt still its pull, the strange silence of these separate things refusing to form a singular composition, as if it were my work to complete them, as if they needed and demanded me."

This is perhaps personal preference: That is simply too much for me. And this is a reoccuring problem. Further, some scenes are so hammered to death by Doty's detail of 'things' that I cannot inhabit them at all, there is no room for me, and thus I lose that interaction with art Doty is attempting to describe.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search