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4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  718 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The poignant, accomplished new collection of poetry from the author of My Alexandria--1993 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Times Book Award, 1993 National Book Award Finalist.
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Harper Perennial
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78th out of 100 books — 1 voter
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Your Favourite Book of Poetry.
395th out of 460 books — 456 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,219)
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Apr 03, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
This book is pretty amazing. With the exception of Keats, I don’t usually read books of poetry these days. I’m a prose/novel person, because I like getting invested in characters, and in general I just love a good story. That said, I plan to read more of Doty’s work. And I will probably end up re-reading Atlantis, because there is clearly A LOT there.

Okay, to start with the title, I’m assuming it is no coincidence that the title of this collection is the same as one of Hart Crane’s poems. (Afte
Mar 30, 2011 Lara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, poetry-poetics, 2007
Mark Doty looks at things most of us wouldn't notice and turns them into meaning. Rows of frozen mackeral, a crab shell. He finds consolation for death in the ocean's cast offs. In this graceful collection, none stands out above the rest..."the price of gleaming."
May 11, 2011 Jesse rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
On a first read "Atlantis" can be painfully slow reading, as Doty seems to spend the first half of every poem lost in detailed description. However, upon a second or third reading, my appreciation for the collection deepened significantly. For lurking underneath much of the description are the painful themes of loss and slow decay. Indeed, the central eponymous poem, "Atlantis," chronicles the death of Doty’s lover Wally Roberts.

By far my favorite poem in the collection, however, is "Homo Will N
Jul 30, 2007 Donnie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Most People
Shelves: poetry
This is an easy to read book of poems that really captures the beauty underlying what is horrible in the world.

"the world is made beautiful by its beautiful clothes."

That may be a misquote, but you get the point.
Melissa Ward
Apr 03, 2011 Melissa Ward rated it it was amazing
Mark Doty – “Atlantis”
HarperCollins Books, 1995

Mark Doty seems to paint one fluid stream of pictures in his brilliant collection of poetry, “Atlantis.” He provides a thought provoking, and world questioning escape by truly mastering the art of flow, making his poems run like a stream trickling over tiny stones. Though each poem illuminates a different moment, they all seem to run together in one glorious landscape. The attention to detail Doty pays to the smallest things or moments is brilliant.
Diann Blakely
Mark Doty's third collection, MY ALEXANDRIA, won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award, and his new volume of poems, ATLANTIS, crowns its predecessor's substantial achievements. Its mythical title notwithstanding, the realm of Atlantis is fully human, subject to forces that make most things seem "fallen down, broken apart, carried away." Yet among Doty's notable strengths is his ability to celebrate this realm of grief and loss as a place that nonetheless offers an array of "gorgeous[ness] ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Steven rated it it was amazing
In my extensive reading of poetry, I have studied no other poet as much as I have Mark Doty. With each book of his I read, I am able to more quickly notice and learn new craft lessons, partly because I am so familiar with his style and partly because his content is so immediately discernible to me (due to certain parallels in our lives). With this collection, I was able to see what his critics are saying when they point out how his descriptions of color and light tend to meander a bit too long. ...more
Mar 14, 2013 Johnny rated it it was amazing
I love Mark Doty. I'm as much his groupie as one can be for a poet. I've seen him read several times, and he always makes me weep. His poems are both clever and important. Whether contemplating our souls, wondering "if we could be opened / into this / if the smallest chambers / of ourselves / similarly, / revealed some sky" (9), or meditating on age, relating that "I felt both young and awake / which I never felt / when I was young" (52), his work provides some insightful perspectives on life's ...more
Jan 27, 2016 saizine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Mark Doty's work, so I think you all know how this review's going to go. Atlantis is one of those collections that inspires both despair and hope, that manages to articulate the horrors and fears of death, decay and illness while finding some beauty in the bleak to hold on to, or to remember. Tender is the word that comes to mind, and Doty is gentle while unflinching. The poems 'A Green Crab's Shell' (Not, exactly, green:/closer to bronze/preserved in kind brine/something retrieved/from ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Tristan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, lgbtq
Absolutely heartbreaking and wonderful. Doty's poetry skips and arcs across the page like droplets left over from the splash. Listen:
This drenched failure suggests
a whole aesthetic of ruin: salt patinas,
flacked and scoured exactitudes,
a history of color: Venetian reds,

brazilwood, cochineal. Here, morello,
the color of ripe Italian blackberries

The whole book really is this wonderful; I couldn't pick a favorite quote to capture the elegance of Doty's words. The descriptions are vivid, with a heavy
Richard Jespers
Jan 10, 2015 Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing
I love "Rope"

But who'd suggest Charley's lived
long enough? Think of Solomon,
who commanded the child be divided
between mothers; who could cut apart
one living thing, or sever the rope
that holds them both

in the world? It's frayed as it is.
Art is this storng,
exactly: love's gravity,
the weight of Charley's body,
in his rope harness, suspended
from his master's hand"

Suppose we could iridesce,

like these, and lose ourselves
entirely in the universe
of shimmer - would you want

to be yourself only,
unduplicatable, doomed
to be lost? They'd prefer,

plainly, to be flashing participants,
multitudinous. Even now
they seem to be bolting

forward, heedless of stasis.
They don't care they're dead
and nearly frozen,

just as, presumably,
they didn't care that they were living:
all, all for all,

the rainbowed school
and its acres of brilliant classrooms,
in which no verb is sing
Rebecca Daff
Jul 23, 2015 Rebecca Daff rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking. Don't be ashamed to cry while reading.
Aug 22, 2014 h rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2014
when a doty line hums it really does
Jun 01, 2014 Dhiraj rated it it was amazing
i lik it
Christina Rau
Aug 28, 2015 Christina Rau rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
Atlantis, unfortunately, was not worth the wait. His poems are very prosey. Many are overly-sentimental, the tone overbearing to the point where the meaning gets blurred. This collection works well for a medical discourse in literature class though.

Some lines popped from the dullness. His stuff about the city is moving and smart. Some images made me go, wow maybe the rest will be as good as this. No, these moments were rare gems.

May 31, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-poetry
I totally loved this book. It was moving, beautifully written with evidence of great craftsmanship. The book is a deeply emotional book as Doty contemplates the death of Wally Roberts from AIDS amidst an ongoing plague of AIDS. There is great tragedy in this book, but also great humanity and striking beauty. I admired the tightness of Doty's forms which managed to house passionate and intellgent thoughts. A terrific read.
Dec 23, 2008 Kent rated it it was amazing
What continues to amaze me about Doty's work is how he can balance the tragic subject matter, the incredible poetic impulse, and still maintain a firm awareness of the craft necessary to make a good poem. These poems aren't too controlled, they are masterfully composed. The one image from this book that I enjoy most is the line between ocean and bay. Simple, vivid, but how it resonates deepens through the course of the book.
Moira McPartlin
May 23, 2013 Moira McPartlin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-challenge
Mark Doty has used the elemental forces around the sea and weather to illustrate the tragedy of loosing someone you love too soon. I loved this collection, where he delivers one unique metaphor after the other without anything sounding forced or sentimental. My favorite poem is Two Ruined Boats, even the title speaks.
Jun 15, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it
The tenacity and beauty of that which is dying. . . Doty looks to nature for examples of death, the shortness and loveliness of life, ways to understand our life and death. The loss of Wally is always on the horizon, but most poems don’t deal with Wally or AIDS or dying directly. Lovely lovely.
Jul 31, 2008 Catamorandi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes great poetry
Recommended to Catamorandi by: someone in one of my poetry groups
This is a great book of poetry. The imagery is fantastic. The words used are sublime. I felt like I was in the living room on a chair talking to him. My favorite poem in the book was "Grosse Fuge." It was long, but beautifully brought to life by his words.
Apr 09, 2008 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Although not quite finished with this book, it brought me to tears and will no doubt do so again before I finish. Doty's words, images, sequences draw me in completely. I will need to read his other works and hope to be "shaken" as I was with this book.
Karen DeGroot Carter
Jan 05, 2015 Karen DeGroot Carter rated it it was amazing
After being seduced into a comfortable lull by Mark Doty's reflections of life near a P-town beach, I found his meditations on loss and blunt responses to pain even more effective. Impressive craftsmanship is displayed on every page.
J. Mark
Oct 21, 2007 J. Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poets, poetry fans, those interested in gay subjects/issues or AIDS/HIV-related material
Shelves: poetry
Again, amongst my top 5 poets, Doty's work is simultaneously lush and spare, stark and overripe. Even lighter obervations like his amazing and lean "Display of Mackerel" bristle with deep questions of hope and mortality.
Christopher Barnes
Aug 27, 2007 Christopher Barnes rated it it was amazing
"Letter from the Coast" and "Crepe de Chine" were breathtaking enough to merit a place written on my bedroom wall for a year. Doty rivals Levis and Dobyns for the title of my favorite poet.
Oct 15, 2007 alexandra rated it liked it
Recommends it for: literalists
Some great moments of imagery and narrative, but I can't stand words like "splendor" and "magestic" in a poem unless they are satirical. Too obvious though that's the point I guess.
Jan 07, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
still my favorite collection of poetry. doty can take something so simple, and turn it into something incredible. check out "green crab's shell". it's stunning.
J. Alfred
Apr 02, 2011 J. Alfred rated it liked it
I'm not much into contemporary literature, so I don't know where to put Doty on the scale of today's poets, but I thought this was a strong, thoughtful little volume.
Jun 15, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I loved this volume of poetry. It worked on two levels: beautiful words about the shore, and the deeper experience of Doty losing his partner to AIDS.
Apr 22, 2008 Claudia rated it it was ok
While these poems are well-crafted and the imagery is fresh, they failed to grab me as a collection. My favorite poem is "The Rope," a moving love story.
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Mark Doty is the author of six books of poems and two memoirs, Heaven's Coast and Firebird. A Guggenheim, Ingram-Merrill, and Whiting Fellow, he has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for Nonfiction. He teaches at the University of Houston, and divides his time between Houston and Provincetown, Massachusetts.
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“And now, a heap of roses
beside the sea, white rugosa
beside the foaming hem of shore:

waxen candles…
And we talk
as if death were a line to be crossed.
Look at them, the white roses.
Tell me where they end.”
More quotes…