Effortlessly blending biography, criticism, and memoir, National Book Award–winning poet and best-selling memoirist Mark Doty explores his personal quest for Walt Whitman.
Mark Doty has always felt haunted by Walt Whitman’s bold, perennially new American voice, and by his equally radical claims about body and soul and what it means to be a self. In What Is the Grass, Dotya poet, a New Yorker, and an Americankeeps company with Whitman and his Leaves of Grass, tracing the resonances between his own experience and the legendary poet’s life and work.
What is it then between us? Whitman asks. In search of an answer, Doty explores spacesboth external and internalwhere he finds the poet’s ghost. He meditates on desire, love, and the mysterious wellsprings of the poet’s enduring work: a radical experience of transformation and enlightenment, queer sexuality, and an obsession with death, as well as unabashed love for a great city and for the fresh, rowdy character of American speech. In riveting close readings threaded with personal memoir and illuminated by awe, Doty reveals the power of Whitman’s persistent presence in his life and in the American imagination at large.
How does a voice survive death? What Is the Grass is a conversation across time and space, a study of the astonishment one poet finds in the accomplishment of another, and an attempt to grasp Whitman’s deeply hopeful vision of human possibility.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Preface Apparition 1
The First Source
1 On the Extremest Verge 11
2 Nothing That Has Ceased to Arrive 25
3 Every Atom 36
4 The Elderhand 41
5 Luckier 55
The Second Source
6 The Unwriteable 73
7 (Is It Night? Are We Here Alone?) 88
8 Buds Folded Beneath Speech 100
9 Done with the Compass 120
10 The Old Old Poem Walt 133
11 Bijou 149
12 Insatiable 157
13 A Loving Bedfellow 170
The Third Source
14 I Loved Well Those Cities 183
The Fourth Source
15 Stucco'd with Quadrupeds and Birds All Over 209
The Fifth Source
16 Demon or Bird 229
17 The Strong and Delicious Word 239
18 What Is It Then Between Us? 250