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Gay poet Mark Doty shares his sparkling words with SGN
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Gay poet Mark Doty shares his sparkling words with SGN

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Mark Doty reading
February 26
Benaroya Hall


On February 26, Seattle Arts and Lectures (SAL) hosted a reading by prominent Gay poet Mark Doty at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall. The reading was part of SAL's 2009-10 Poetry Series. Mark Doty is a 2008 National Book Award winner and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Dog Years (2007).

"This is a city of readers," Doty told the audience of approximately 500 fans. He continued on about how Seattle's interest in literature is rooted in "the intensity and the quality of attention that comes from being indoors."

"I've always had great responses from my audiences there," Doty told SGN.

Doty read various poems from his most recent book, Fire to Fire, as well as older excerpts and lesser-known poems published in various literary journals. Doty also read a selection from Dog Years. The talented author was met with massive applause from the audience. Doty took questions from audience members after his reading and offered to sign books as well.

Though all of Doty's poems were excellent, "The House of Beauty Is Burning" from Fire to Fire was the true gem in his sparkling collection of words.

"I started writing in high school. & I'm 56 now. & Forty years - it blows me away to think about it," Doty told SGN in an interview that quickly became a journey through memory. Doty published his first book, Turtle, Swan, when he was 33.

"Like a lot of adolescents, but especially Gay adolescents, I had a huge amount of inner turmoil," Doty told SGN. "It needed some kind of container, some kind of form, some kind of vehicle to express itself."

"I was giving shape to my inner life in some kind of dreamy, indirect way," Doty reminisced.

Doty writes chiefly poetry, but has an impressive resume of prose to accompany the enormously popular Dog Years. Other memoirs by Doty include Firebird: A Memoir (1999) and Heaven's Coast (1996).

For more information on upcoming lectures, visit www.lectures.org.

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