Mark Doty

Literary Birthday – 10 August – Mark Doty

Happy Birthday, Mark Doty, born 10 August 1953.


  1. Love, I think, is a gateway to the world, not an escape from it.
  2. Being in grief, it turns out, is not unlike being in love. In both states, the imagination‘s entirely occupied with one person. The beloved dwells at the heart of the world, and becomes a Rome: the roads of feeling all lead to him, all proceed from him.
  3. Even sad stories are company. And perhaps that’s why you might read such a chronicle, to look into a companionable darkness that isn’t yours.
  4. Say what you see and you experience yourself through your style of seeing and saying.
  5. Here and gone. That’s what it is to be human, I think—to be both someone and no one at once, to hold a particular identity in the world (our names, our place of origins, our family and affectional ties) and to feel that solid set of ties also capable of dissolution, slipping away, as we become moments of attention.
  6. There are those fortunate hours when the world consents to be made into a poem.
  7. If you could stand at just a little distance in time, how fluid and shape-shifting physical reality would be, everything hurrying into some other form, even concrete, even stone.
  8. Doesn’t rain make a memory more intimate?
  9. Grief does not seem to me to be a choice. Whether or not you think grief has value, you will lose what matters to you. The world will break your heart. So I think we’d better look at what grief might offer us.
  10. Into the paradise of euphony, the good poet must introduce hell. Broken paradises are the only kind worth reading.

Mark Doty is an American poet and memoirist. He won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008 for Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. He is the author of Dog Years. A Memoir.

Image source:

slowking, GFDL 1.2 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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Posted on: 10th August 2015