This bold, wide-ranging new collectionhis sixth book of poemsdemonstrates the unmistakable lyricism, fierce observation and force of feeling that have made Mark Doty's poems matter to readers on both sides of the Atlantic.
The poems in Source deepen Doty's exploration of the paradox of selfhood. It is a complex, boldly colored self-portrait; its muscular lines argue fiercely with the fact of limit, and pulse with the drama of perception, the quest for forging meaning.
Doty's poems move naturally in one's mind from mere intellection to a shared emotional experience. He can take the most innocuous topicssay, a child's self-portraitand discover a drawing that "seem[s] to thrill with life." His "Letter to Walt Whitman," which takes us to a "beach side changing shed," addresses the writer's identification with "men held in common by our common skin." There are no fashionable causes, cranky ideologies or aggressive posturing. No voyeuristic soul-searching, no self-righteous self-exposure. There is nothing written here that you can't believe. Everything that is autobiographical in these poems naturally evolves from an attentive sincerity. These are poems for everybody who longs for insight into the sources of life: love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding. This book, from one of our best poets, is full of the healing balm of renewed hope.