Kim's Reviews > Sweet Machine

Sweet Machine by Mark Doty
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's review
Sep 23, 2008

liked it
Read in September, 2008

It kind of pains me to only give this three stars, but it alternately bored the shit out of me and blew my mind. Doty's contemplations of the aesthetic, especially shiny things, slow time, and not in a good way (to be fair, he does take two poems to address a critic who has noted his propensity to describe the shiny in great detail). So I found myself almost entirely disinterested in the first two sections of this collection, despite the fact that Doty is a master craftsman. The book picked up steam, for me, in the final poem of the second section, "Metro North," which describes Doty's obsession with writing said train over and over again to catch momentary glimpses of a man who's built a living space in the most upper reaches of Manhattan. Regardless of what he's writing about, one can't help but be impressed by the perfection with which Doty constructs his poems, but the subject matter of some of these couldn't grab me at all. I'm interested to check out some of his other collections, particularly the one prior to this, Atlantis in which Doty chronicles the illness and death of his long-time partner. So I'd recommend this highly for the good in it, which is fantastic, but with the reservation that some of the poems just didn't do a damn thing for me.

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