Publication Date: 07/09/2023 ISBN: 9781529112948 Category:

What is the Grass

Mark Doty

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication Date: 07/09/2023 ISBN: 9781529112948 Category:
Paperback / Softback


This book is scheduled to be published on 07/09/2023.
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‘Marvellous. He sends you straight back to the text, makes you feel like you’re returning to an old love’ Guardian

What does it mean to be a self?

Mark Doty has always felt haunted by Walt Whitman’s bold, new American voice, and by his equally radical claims about body and soul. In What Is the Grass keeps company with Whitman and his mutable, landmark work, 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. Doty’s answer is to explore spaces tied to Whitman’s life and spaces where he finds the poet’s ghost, meditating on desire, love, and the mysterious wellsprings of the poet’s enduring work. It is an attempt to grasp Whitman’s deeply hopeful vision of humanity.

Publisher Review

Doty is an extraordinarily fine writer whose every word sings on the page... There certainly couldn't be a more appropriate explorer [of Whitman] than Doty, as both a leading North American poet and a memoirist and prose writer of exceptional grace and depth... This is an exceptional, passionate memoir of reading, and of a poet's lifelong work of understanding self and the world. -- Fiona Sampson * Spectator * Mark Doty's deeply personal love letter to Walt Whitman, belongs in the pantheon...beside Ted Hughes's Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being and Don Paterson's Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets... As admirers of his poetry and memoirs will know, Doty writes about his life with a rare warmth and candour. He makes you lean forward to listen... He reads with care, in the sense of both attentiveness and love. -- Tristram Fane Saunders * Daily Telegraph * Marvellous. He sends you straight back to the text, makes you feel like you're returning to an old love... In a fit of enchantment. -- Abhrajyoti Chakraborty * Guardian * Doty is one of the most compelling modern singers of 'the body electric' and in What is the Grass he has produced an elegant meditation on the great founding father of American poetry... Doty helps us feel the touch and connection of great art afresh. It is a warmly affecting performance. -- David Wheatley * Literary Review * Mark Doty has written a warm and intelligent account of Whitman... [Doty's] poems are a highly engaging mixture of the quotidian and the numinous. -- Seamus Perry * Times Literary Supplement *

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