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Mark Doty
Heaven's Coast

Original Airdate: June 11, 1997


About the Author

Mark Doty has received many honors for his poetry, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. As a National Book Award finalist and two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, he is the only American poet to have won Britain's T.S. Eliot Prize. The author of three prose volumes -- "Heaven's Coast," "Firebird" and "Still Life with Oysters and Lemon" -- he teaches in the graduate program at the University of Houston. Doty lives in Houston and in Provincetown.


About this Book

The year is 1989 and Mark Doty's life has reached a state of enviable equilibrium. His reputation as a poet of formidable talent is growing, he enjoys his work as a college professor and, perhaps most importantly, he is deeply in love with his partner of many years, Wally Roberts. The harmonious existence these two men share is shattered, however, when they learn that Wally has tested positive for the HIV virus. From diagnosis to the initial signs of deterioration to the heartbreaking hour when Wally is released from his body's ruined vessel, "Heaven's Coast" is an intimate chronicle of love, its hardships and its innumerable gifts. We witness Doty's passage through the deepest phase of grief -- letting his lover go while keeping him firmly alive in memory and heart -- and, eventually beyond, to the slow reawakening of the possibilities of pleasure. Part memoir, part journal, part elegy for a life of rare communication and beauty, "Heaven's Coast" evinces the same stunning honesty, resplendent descriptive power and rapt attention to the physical landscape that has won Doty's poetry such attention and acclaim.


More Resources

Mark Doty's website



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