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Sweet Machine: Poems Paperback – March 4, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There is a familiarity here, in this, Doty's fifth collection of poetry in 11 years. Poems like "Favrile" are reminiscent of earlier poems like "Difference" and "Description" and epitomize Doty's love of words and thoughtful digressions. There is also typical Doty subject matter (fabric, flowers, fog) that links, like a chain of inspiration, book to book. Doty has proved himself capable of lavish vocabulary and technical mastery, but one has a stronger sense in Sweet Machine of his absorption of life's dark, unredeemable underside. Even beauty, Doty's ceaseless redeemer, seems unable, at times, to grace the darkness here, to offer hope, potential, future: "I am forty-one years old / and ready to get down / on my knees to a kitchen bowl / full of live green . . . ." It is this quality that makes the work more real than any of Doty's previous collections. It is not that he has suddenly relinquished his belief in life's beauty or failed to find transcendence, nor has he seen for the first time the ugly side of life; it is that he has weighed them yin/yang-like in a balance of perception and given them their equal due. He has taken on his losses in a Crane-like "it is bitter, but it is mine" fashion and sees salvation as if for the first time, joy and beauty as rare and precious commodities. Janet St. John --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Having published the first poem and the last, I thoughthaving read the old poems tooI had known what to expect, but the senses are always new, and Doty's loyalty to them, and to the sense they make, continues to astonish, to enlighten, to console." -- Richard Howard

"Mark Doty says, 'What I love about language/is what I love about fog:/what comes between us and things/grants them shine.' What comes between Mark Doty and the things in Sweet Machine is the sheerest translucent membrane of regard, the astonishing gloss of his eye's sweep and pinpointhis luminous language. Nothing escapes his gaze and nothingdeath, devastation, the ghost of a gestureescapes its sheer insistence on beauty, the world 'lustered by the veil.' Mark Doty is a master, re-painting our sad daily canvas, heightening the gold light, the diffusion, the shocked shattered glass and the artificial bath of attitude, letting us see it all arrayed, as he says, under the 'uncompromising vault of heaven.'" -- Carol Muske

"Strange paradise, complete with worms', Mark Doty begins a poem. In four collections of poetry, this masterful poet writes elegies so full of life we find our hope restored. Moving, splendidly observant and unflinching, Mark Doty's poems extend the range of the American lyric poem." -- Citation for the Writer Bynner Prize for Poetry awared by the American Academy of Arts and Letters

These are poems of ardour and playfulness.... an ongoing celebration ... Perhaps he has relaxed too much, even allowing himself to be self-indulgent.... -- The Economist

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (March 4, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060952563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060952563
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Allison Jenks on October 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Rarely do you come across a poet able to maintain a voice as pure and frank as Mark Doty's. He approaches prevalent themes such as grief, loss, and love with enchanting diction, virtue, and elegance. Beyond his ability to achieve the perfect balance of lyric, image, narrative, mystery, and form, his unwavering beauty (I think) lies somewhere in the synergy of candor and compassion, as in the ending of one of my favorite poems (a direct-address to a lover who has passed and returns in a dream) "Bless you. You came back, so I could see you once more, plainly, so I could rest against you without thinking this happiness lessened anything, without thinking you were alive again." In short, his poems are brimming with that rare magic that make poets want to write.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book, full of poems that call the reader to be more fully human, more empathetic, more intelligent, more intensely alive. Doty is a writer's writer, in that his work sensitizes the reader to the magical powers of language as well as to the beauty and richness of the world he writes about with such passion. Thank you, Mark Doty!
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By P. Melsha on August 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
Love Mark Doty. Everyone should read his latest "Dog Years." Especially anyone suffering a loss. It is the best grief book I have ever read. Forget the Phds on grief and just read his personal story and you will be cleansed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
i was so very happy when this book came out - hard to follow up to atlantis, but this book manages to soar to new heights in its lyric intensity and overall emotional arc. mature and beautiful, sewn with expertise and true poetic vision.
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By Kimberly Martz on December 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Mark Doty. That is all. ;-)
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