Doty was born in Maryville, Tennessee. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and received his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
His first collection of poems, "Turtle, Swan," was published by David R. Godine in 1987; a second collection, "Bethlehem in Broad Daylight," appeared from the same publisher in 1991. While some poems in these two volumes are concerned with gay identity and the encroachment of the AIDS epidemic, the two books are largely centered on an autobiographical exploration of family, in which the poet examines the forces that have shaped his adult consciousness.
His third book, "My Alexandria" (University of Illinois Press, 1993), is entirely informed by the AIDS epidemic. In 1989, Doty's partner Wally Roberts tested positive for HIV. The collection, written while Roberts had not yet become ill, contemplates the prospect of mortality, desperately attempting to find some way of making the prospect of loss even momentarily bearable. "My Alexandria" was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Philip Levine, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. When the book was published in the U.K. by Jonathan Cape, Doty became the first American poet to win the T.S. Eliot Prize, Britain's most significant annual award for poetry.
Mark Doty is an American poet and memoirist, and the winner of the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. From 1995 until 2010, his partner was the writer Paul Lisicky. They were married in 2008 and divorced in 2013. He currently lives with his partner Alexander Hadel in New York City and in the hamlet of The Springs in East Hampton, New York. He is the inaugural judge of the White Crane/James White Poetry Prize for Excellence in Gay Men's Poetry and for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize.
Mark Doty, at far left, and Paul Lisicky on a boardwalk near their Fire Island Pines home. Doug Kuntz for The New York Times
Paul Lisicky is an American novelist and memoirist. From 1995 until 2010, his partner was the writer Mark Doty. Doty is an American poet and memoirist, and the winner of the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. They were married in 2008 and divorced in 2013. "Mark and I have separated after 16 years together. We're still close, of course, and maybe there's something to say about all that. Maybe one could have a real life romance, and there could be more life to come beyond that"
Doty had begun the poems collected in "Atlantis" (HarperCollins, 1995) when Roberts died in 1994. The book won the Bingham Poetry Prize and the Ambassador Book Award. Heaven's Coast: A Memoir' (HarperCollins, 1996), is a meditative account of losing a loved one, and a study in grief. The book received the PEN Martha Albrand Award First Nonfiction.
Doty had published eight books of poems, three memoirs, an essay on still life painting, objects and intimacy, and a handbook for writers. Along with the titles listed above, his volumes of poetry include "Sweet Machine" (HarperCollins, 1998), "Source," (HarperCollins, 2002), "School of the Arts" (HarperCollins, 2005 and "Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems," (HarperCollins, 2008), which received the National Book Award.
His memoirs, after "Heaven's Coast," are "Firebird," (HarperCollins, 1999), an autobiography from six to sixteen, and "Dog Years," (HarperCollins, 2005), which was a New York Times Bestseller and received the Israel Fishman Stonewall Book Award from the American Lbrary Association. )His collections of poems Firebird told the story of his childhood in the American South and in Arizona. Louise Erdrich praised the book as being "about dogs, that is to say, about everything we cannot talk about... the 'unsayable' about our relationships with animals, and about unspeakable times of loss, Dog Years is not a dark book. It is illuminated from within by gorgeous wonder."
He has also published "Still Life with Oysters and Lemon," (Beacon Press, 2002), a book-length essay about 17th-century Dutch painting and our relationships to objects. In addition, his "The Art of Description" (Graywolf Books, 2010) is a short examination of poetry's ability to render perception into language.
He served as guest editor for "The Best American Poetry 2012" (Scribners, 2012).
Doty has taught at the University of Iowa, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, Cornell and NYU. He was the John and Rebecca Moores Professor in the graduate program at The University of Houston Creative Writing Program for ten years, and is currently Distinguished Professor and Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he directs Writers House. He has also participated in The Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers, and was on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in August 2006. He is the inaugural judge of the White Crane/James White Poetry Prize for Excellence in Gay Men's Poetry.
Doty is a judge for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize.
It’s so easy to fall into hyperbole when writing about books, but I firmly believe that Mark Doty’s Heaven’s Coast is one of the most beautiful books ever written. A memoir about the AIDS-related death of his partner Wally Roberts in 1993, Doty explores love, loss, and grief with the tender yet thorough tenacity of a poet. As a result of his journey he comes to accept the reality of death, and even find value in it: “Could we ever really know anything that wasn’t transient, not becoming more itself in the strange, unearthly light of dying?” Anyone who is facing grief or has ever known grief could profit from reading this book. --Wayne Courtois
Mark Doty, 1992, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123774)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Dog Years: A Memoir (P.S.) by Mark Doty
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1ST edition (April 8, 2008)
Amazon: Dog Years: A Memoir
When Mark Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he brings home Beau, a large, malnourished golden retriever in need of loving care. Joining Arden, the black retriever, to complete their family, Beau bounds back into life. Before long, the two dogs become Doty's intimate companions, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days. Dog Years is a poignant, intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about living, love, and loss.
Heaven's Coast: A Memoir by Mark Doty
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (January 31, 1997)
Amazon: Heaven's Coast: A Memoir
The year is 1989 and Mark Doty's life has reached a state of enviable equilibrium. His reputation as a poet of formidable talent is growing, he enjoys his work as a college professor and, perhaps most importantly, he is deeply in love with his partner of many years, Wally Roberts. The harmonious existence these two men share is shattered, however, when they learn that Wally has tested positive for the HIV virus. From diagnosis to the initial signs of deterioration to the heartbreaking hour when Wally is released from his body's ruined vessel, Heaven's Coastis an intimate chronicle of love, its hardships, and its innumerable gifts. We witness Doty's passage through the deepest phase of grief -- letting his lover go while keeping him firmly alive in memory and heart -- and, eventually beyond, to the slow reawakening of the possibilities of pleasure. Part memoir, part journal, part elegy for a life of rare communication and beauty, Heaven's Coast evinces the same stunning honesty, resplendent descriptive power and rapt attention to the physical landscape that has won Doty's poetry such attention and acclaim.
Firebird: A Memoir by Mark Doty
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 19, 2000)
Amazon: Firebird: A Memoir
In Firebird, Mark Doty tells the story of a ten-year-old in a top hat, cane, and red chiffon scarf, interrupted while belting out Judy Garland's "Get Happy" by his alarmed mother at the bedroom door, exclaiming, "Son, you're a boy!" Firebird presents us with a heroic little boy who has quite enough worries without discovering that his dawning sexuality is the Wrong One. A self-confessed "chubby smart bookish sissy with glasses and a Southern accent," Doty grew up on the move, the family following his father's engineering work across America-from Tennessee to Arizona, Florida to California. A lyrical, heartbreaking comedy of one family's dissolution through the corrosive powers of alcohol, sorrow, and thwarted desire, Firebird is also a wry evocation of childhood's pleasures and terrors, a comic tour of American suburban life, and a testament to the transformative power of art.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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