Mark Doty Archive

Metaphor’s (Nearly) Infinite Wellspring

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Birds are not alone in singing or in originating metaphors. There are other winged creatures that croon and hum and carry. We are among multitudes that raise a chorus to the elements, especially in August. Cicadas, yes, but also crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers.

Review: WRITING HARD STORIES by Melanie Brooks

Sharply written, these intimate and insightful exchanges dispel the myth that perhaps we all, writers or not, have come to believe about our own narratives, our own lives: “The worst story that we can tell ourselves is that we are alone.”

Daily Details Made Monumental

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice No comments
Exterior details lend themselves to the interior landscape of a character or narrator. What one chooses to notice, how one describes an object, says more about the speaker than it does about that thing. A character who spends a whole paragraph noticing someone’s unwashed, unkempt hair tells the reader

Gatekeepers Part Four-point-Two: in defense of “telling” and sentimental preachiness

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
Two winters ago, brand-new to the creative writing community of Madison, Wisconsin, I was at ground zero of the national debate on union rights, caught in a throng of 70,000 protestors marching around the State Capitol, screaming “Whose Streets? Our Streets!,” “This Is What Democracy Looks Like!,” and “It’s