The Art of Description

The Art of Description
World into Word
Mark Doty

“Doty is not only qualified but uniquely articulate on the subject [of using words figuratively].”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[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

About the Book

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
"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.


Additional Reviews

“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
[A] gem . . . another manifestation of Doty's ability to perceive and translate beauty, and of his affection for words—and for words in their right arrangement."—Poetry International