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August 10, 1953 |
|Alma mater||Drake University;
|Notable awards||National Book Award for Poetry|
Mark Doty was born in Maryville, Tennessee to Lawrence and Ruth Doty, with an older sister, Sarah Alice Doty. 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.
Doty's 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. Booklist described his verse as “quiet, intimate” and praised its original style in turning powerful young urban experience into “an example of how we live, how we suffer and transcend suffering".
Mark Doty's “Tiara” was printed in 1990 in an anthology called Poets for Life: Seventy-Six Poets Respond to AIDS. This poem critiques the way society perceived and treated homosexual AIDS sufferers. The 1980s marked the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. The United States, with its sophisticated medicine and public health care system, is criticized for not mobilizing quickly enough during the 1980s. The Reagan administration’s delayed action to fight AIDS resulted in thousands of needless deaths, especially among young, gay men. Many believe the initial reluctance to mobilize was due to homophobia—society was uncomfortable with gay sexuality. This poem criticizes the idea that gay men “invite[d] their own oppression as a consequence of pleasure.” The poem’s phrase “he asked for it” represents this common, unsympathetic opinion about gay men with AIDs. Imagery like “perfect stasis” and “body’s paradise” is used by Doty to paint a future beyond brutality and discrimination for AIDS sufferers. According to Landau, Doty’s poems were “humane and comforting narratives” that offered hope to people living with HIV and stood in contrast to the hostile climate of the United States.
His third book of poetry, My Alexandria (University of Illinois Press, 1993), reflects the grief, perceptions and new awareness gained in the face of great and painful loss. 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.
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.
Mark Doty is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Deep Lane (W.W. Norton, 2015), a book of descents: into the earth beneath the garden, into the dark substrata of a life. He has also written essays on still life painting, objects and intimacy, and a handbook for writers. 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.
Doty's three memoirs include Heaven's Coast, described as "searing" by The New York Times, is the excruciating journaling of his thoughts subsequent to hearing his lover's diagnosis with AIDS, a work "layered" with awarenesses like Dante's trip through hell (HarperCollins, 1996), and Firebird: A Memoir, an autobiography from six to sixteen, which tells the story of his childhood in the American South and in Arizona (HarperCollins, 1999). These first two memoirs received the American Library Associations Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award. His most recent memoir, Dog Years (HarperCollins, 2005), was a New York Times Bestseller and received the Barbara Gittings Literature Award from the American Library Association in 2008.
Doty's essays include Still Life with Oysters and Lemon (Beacon Press, 2002), a book-length essay about 17th-century Dutch painting and our relationships to objects, and The Art of Description (Graywolf Books, 2010), a collection of four essays in which, "Doty considers the task of saying what you see, and the challenges of rendering experience through 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[update] 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.
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. The couple married October 2015 in Muir Woods National Monument.
- 1992 National Poetry Series Winner for My Alexandria
- 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for My Alexandria
- 1993 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry for My Alexandria
- 1994 Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities
- 1994 Whiting Award
- 1995 T.S. Eliot Prize for My Alexandria
- 1995, 2001, 2008 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Poetry for Atlantis, Source, Fire to Fire
- 1997 Pen/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction for Heaven's Coast
- 1999 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award
- 2007 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography for Dog Years
- 2008 Stonewall Book Award for Dog Years
- 2008 National Book Award for Poetry
- My Alexandria: Poems. University of Illinois Press. 1 January 1993. ISBN 978-0-252-06317-6. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Turtle, Swan, and Bethlehem in Broad Daylight. University of Illinois Press. 2000. ISBN 978-0-252-06842-3. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Murano: Poem. Getty Publications. 2000. ISBN 978-0-89236-598-2. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Still Life with Oysters and Lemon. Beacon Press. 2001. ISBN 978-0-8070-6609-6. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. HarperCollins. 2008. ISBN 9780060752477.
- Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. HarperCollins. 11 March 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-075247-7. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Atlantis. HarperCollins. 13 October 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-196786-3. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Paragon Park. David R. Godine Publisher. 2012. ISBN 978-1-56792-442-8. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Sweet Machine. Random House. 2012. ISBN 9781448130283.
- Deep Lane: Poems. W. W. Norton & Company. 2015. ISBN 978-0-393-07023-1.
- Heaven's Coast. HarperCollins. 17 March 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-187163-4. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Dog Years. HarperCollins. 13 October 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-184243-6. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- 2003: Open House: Writers Redefine Home, St. Paul: Graywolf Books
- "The Unwriteable". Granta (110: Sex). Spring 2010. (Subscription Required)
- "Insatiable". Granta (117: Horror). Autumn 2011. (Subscription Required)
- 1996: My Alexandria, University of Illinois Press
- 1998: Poetry Heaven, a three-part video series, The Dodge Foundation, New Jersey
- 1999: Mark Doty: Readings & Conversations, Lannan Literary Videos, Lannan Foundation, Los Angeles
- 1999: "Fooling with Words", Bill Moyers PBS special, September
- "Biography on Goddard College webpage". Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "Biography". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. New York: St. Martin's, 1987.
- Landau, Deborah. "How to Live. What to Do: The Poetics and Politics of AIDS." American Literature 68.1 (1996): 193-225. JSTOR. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
- Toibin, Colm (2002), Love in a Dark Time: And Other Explorations of Gay Lives and Literature, Simon and Schuster, p. 241, ISBN 0-7432-4467-2
- Sutherland, Amy (2013-01-06). "Mark Doty: Poet and biography buff". Boston Globe. Boston. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "Mark Doty Poetry Reading". Notes on Goddard College Lecture series 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "National Book Award Winners: 1950 – 2014 (Alpha By Category)". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Kirby, David (1996-03-10). "The Survivor (review of Heaven's Coast A Memoir)". New York Times Book Review. NYC. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Wiegand, David. "Looking Back at a Hell of a Childhood". SFGate. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- "Stonewall Award List". American Library Association. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "Book description by Poets and Writer's Magazine". The Art of Description: World Into Word by Mark Doty. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "Best American Poetry Archive". The Best American Poetry 2012. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "James White Poetry Prize". White Crane Institute. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Griffin Poetry Prize 2013 Judges
- Judges for the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize Announced and New Trustee Welcomed (September 17, 2014)
- "Previous Winning Publications". The National Poetry Series. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists". National Book Critics Circle. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- "Winners by Award". Los Angeles Times, Festival of Books. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Fellows". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- Antonio Gonzalez Cerna (July 14, 1996). "8th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- Antonio Gonzalez Cerna (July 9, 2002). "14th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- Antonio Gonzalez Cerna (February 18, 2010). "21st Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- "Pen/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction Winners". Pen America. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Awards: the art of the possible" (PDF). Wallace Foundation. August 2000. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- Antonio Gonzalez Cerna (April 30, 2007). "20th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- "Avery, Doty win 2008 Stonewall Book awards". American Library Association. January 14, 2008. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS WEEK 2008". Mational Book Foundation newsleter, December 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Web page titled "Mark Doty Books" at Mark Doty website. Retrieved May 5, 2008.
- Official website
- Audio: Mark Doty at the Key West Literary Seminar, 2008: A Reading
- Audio: Mark Doty at the Key West Literary Seminar, 2008: Keynote Address
- Mark Doty performing "Pipistrelle" on the Indiefeed Performance Poetry Podcast
- Mark Doty's Poets.org bio
- Mark Doty's University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign bio
- Profile at The Whiting Foundation
- 2011 Whiting Writers' Award Keynote Speech
- Modern American Poetry
- Academy of American Poets
- 'Something Understood', review of The Art of Description in The Oxonian Review