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Carissa Green Reads

I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.

Currently reading

The Selected Poems of Donald Hall
Donald Hall
The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
Walter Kaufmann, Friedrich Nietzsche
A Kierkegaard Anthology
Robert W. Bretall
The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman

The Best-Laid Literary Plans

Heaven's Coast - Mark Doty

Tonight - as I write this - I was to be at a small and beautiful university in north-central Minnesota listening to the poet and essayist Mark Doty give a reading. Doty is one of my favorite poets, and I requested my first vacation day of the summer to extend my lake weekend, just 25 miles from the venue, by one day, so I could see him.

 

Instead, I'm two hours away, sans automobile, as my car is in the shop for a frustrating and expensive repair. No vacation day, no Mark Doty, no joy in Carissaland. 

 

I've been a fan of Doty's since "My Alexandria" was first published (and I had planned to get my copy signed tonight). But I had never really read much of his memoir work. I rearranged my reading schedule -- especially my bus book -- when I found out he was going to be in my area and knocked off his contribution to Graywolf Press' "Art of" series, "The Art of Description," pretty quickly. (It's excellent -- and as a bonus, it includes a long discussion of a poem by one of my other favorite poets, Elizabeth Bishop.)

 

But then I read "Heaven's Coast," Doty's memoir -- truly a prose elegy -- of the death of his great love, Wally, from AIDS, in the early '90s. It was sublime. So although I am not sitting in that beautiful building near the edge of a lovely lake listening to this great poet, there is this consolation: I have read "Heaven's Coast," and I will carry its mournful, searing beauty with me as part of my mind and heart's library. 

 

-cg