Back when we were both very young, Godine had the honor of publishing the first two poetry books of Mark Doty, who has since gone on to considerable and deserved fame and fortune, winning the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008, as well as honors from the National Book Critics Circle, the LA Times Book Prize, a Whiting Award, and (as the first American in its history) the T.S.Eliot Prize. Here, reset and containing almost two dozen poems that appeared in small magazines but have never before been collected, are the complete texts of Turtle, Swan and Bethlehem in Broad Daylight to which Doty has contributed a new introduction. Essentially a new book, and important both for its history and its new inclusions.
A new book of poems – or of anything – by Mark Doty is good news in a dark time. The precision, daring, scope, elegance of his compassion and the language in which he embodies it are a reassuring pleasure.
If it were mine to invent the poet to complete the century of William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens, I would create Mark Doty just as he is, a maker of big, risky, fearless poems in which ordinary human experience becomes music.
With his clarity of vision and great heart, Doty stands among us as an emblematic and shining presence.
Doty’s poems work best when he finds his way back and forth between the vernacular and the elegant music of desire and loss.
—American Book Review, of Bethlehem in Broad Daylight.