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Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and Percival Everett's Telephone has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Art of Description

World into Word
Mark Doty
"It sounds like a simple thing, to say what you see," Mark Doty begins. "But try to find words for the shades of a mottled sassafras leaf, or the reflectivity of a bay on an August morning, or the very beginnings of desire stirring in the gaze of someone looking right into your eyes. . . . " How the writer moves perception to image and finally to written word is at the heart of any literary work. In this vivid meditation on this essential aspect of the writer's craft, Doty finds refuge in the sensory experience found in poems by Blake, Whitman, Bishop, and others. In clear chapter-essays and a vibrant abecedarian sequence, The Art of Description is an invaluable book by one of America's most revered writers and teachers.


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National Book Award winner Mark Doty's first prose book on the craft of poetry—an ultimately moving argument for the primacy of our senses

About the Author

Mark  Doty
Credit: Star Black
Mark Doty is the author of The Art of Description: World into Word and eight collections of poetry, including Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the National Book Award. He is also the author of four works of prose nonfiction, including the memoir Heaven’s Coast, which received the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. He teaches at Rutgers University and lives in New York.
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  • “[A] fine tutorial. . . . Mark Doty’s essays are alive with wonder at the ability of poetry to figure the world—while remaining true to the ultimate escape of the actual.”—Ron Slate
  • “Lest you think this is a craft manual, rest assured that this small book is instead a directory for the enjoyment of, not only poetry, but words as we use them, every day and everywhere.”—Sacramento News & Review
  • “A book on writing that stands out among many of its kind. From the very beginning we see a passion for the language and a romanticism in it, making the word-loving reminisce and the non-word loving fall in love.”—New Pages
  • “Who could be more admired for his bright accuracies than Mark Doty? Anything he writes on the topic of poetry is worth a reader’s time and, with The Art of Description, he’s playing on home ground. . . . Elegant and instructive.”—The Literary Review
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