Still Life with Oysters and Lemon On Objects and Intimacy Characters Ê 2

Review Still Life with Oysters and Lemon On Objects and Intimacy

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon On Objects and Intimacy Characters Ê 2 Á Although at first glance this slim volume appears to be a uick read it should be lingered over and reread to uncover the full depth of its beauty and insight Combining memoir with artistic and philosophical musings the poet and NationaAl lifetime Further defined by imperfections attained from use each object from an aging oak table to a chipped blue and white china platter forms a springboard for reflection Doty intersperses personal reminiscences throughout but he always returns to the subject of still life painting and its silent elouence Doty's observations on balance grief beauty space love and time are imparted with wisdom and poetic graceBooks like this that address the sources of creation and the sources of our humanness come along once in a decade Susan Salter Reynolds Los Angeles TimesThis small book is as wise sensitive intense and affecting as. Last night I sat down with a glass of wine and Still Life with Oysters and Lemon by the poet Mark Doty I read it in one go and a second glass of wine I really don’t have words to describe the experience of reading it Any attempt to express it seems shallow after Doty’s beautifully crafted prose I will only say that it has been a long time since I read a book that spoke so deeply to me but this phrase also seems shallow and clichéd Yet speak to me it did This book defies genre and my appreciation of it maybe comes from the fact that I had no expectations about it Reading other reviewers it seems to me that those mostly disappointed by it were the readers that tried to peg it to a genre be it art review memoir or poetry And if they were looking for a specific theme they had the right to feel disappointed because it is all of these art review memoir and poetry – and none of it Oh I envy Mark Doty though How can he name so effortless – as it seems the experiences of my heart I too have fallen in love with a painting have allowed myself to be pulled into its sphere by casual attraction deepening to something compelling I have felt the energy and life of the painting’s will; I have been held there instructed Often I shy away from describing my experience of art as I don’t have the academic knowledge or vocabulary to do it and speaking of art as it tugs my heart I tend to be melodramatic and incoherent Then Mark Doty comes along and says it for me so beautifully so tenderlyBut he also speaks of life death and grieving Maybe this is a book about grieving than anything else And on grief he again puts words to feelings I have not been able to vocalize Not the grief vanishes – far from it – but that it begins in time to coexist with pleasure; sorrow sits right beside the discovery of what is to be cherished in experience Just when you think you are done It felt surprising too that in a book so small – 70 pages – I relate so close to two of Doty’s experiences I too love to browse through state sales and auctions In my part of the world the state auctions are mainly of farm machinery and mechanical tools but I have found small treasures here and there White porcelain napkin holders in the shape of chubby chickens tucked away in a sad box of Tupperware Medalta pottery cracked and beautiful in its utility A wooden horse its original tail replaced by a rough cord a survivor of many children’s play A pocket size New Testament encased in metal covers to protect the heart of a loved one from a bullet on WWIThese excursions into people’s past their day to day now relegated to the junk pile I always felt there was a lesson here and again I never was able to vocalize it to name itThen there is Mark Doty’s trip to Amsterdam on his 45th birthday I was in Amsterdam this last September celebrating not mine but one of my sister’s 45th birthday We are three sisters spread very evenly around the globe I live in the middle of Canada the birthday girl lives in Sao Paulo Brazil and the baby of the family lives in Hong Kong China Amsterdam of all places on Earth seemed to be the epicentre of our geographical distancesI wish that I could say that like Mark Doty that a visit to the Rijksmuseum was the highlight of our trip but actually we never made it there As it is often the case with sisters we have very different approaches to life art and travel and this trip as special as it was was really a great exercise on compromises I forgo the Rijksmuseum for the Van Gogh Museum and an Antiuity Art Show on Alexander the Great at the Amsterdam’s Hermitage MuseumMy experiences at both Museums felt short of Doty’s experience at the Rijksmuseum and short of my own visits to other art museums in previous years I found the Van Gogh collection and museum to be too small for the amount of visitors It was crowed and hot in there Too many people elbowing each other for a view of th

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Although at first glance this slim volume appears to be a uick read it should be lingered over and reread to uncover the full depth of its beauty and insight Combining memoir with artistic and philosophical musings the poet and National Book Critics Circle Award winner for My Alexandria begins by confessing his obsession with the 17th century Dutch still life that serves as the title of this book As he analyzes the items depicted in the painting he skillfully introduces his thoughts on our intimate relationships to objects and subseuently explains how they are often inextricably bound to the people and places of an individu. When I started reading this book I got a few pages into it and stopped caring what it was about It did not matter as long as I could keep a steady stream of his words pouring into my brain I can imagine even his grocery lists are beautifully written and make your mouth water satisfying your appetite without the need to go to the store This is a small book and he does not waste space with unecessary speech Each sentence has an impact and the result was that I read slowly and did not really think while I was reading There was no room for my own thoughts to jump around adding my own views or experiences or think ahead of him He gently demanded my complete attention to his every word I particularly enjoyed the loving way he remembered his Grandmother the items in her purse and the way her purse smelled I remember now my own Grandmother's purse always smelled like JuicyFruit gum and I think she had a coin purse like he describes and other common items found in other Gramma's pursesand I will never visit the still life section of a museum uite the same way again

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Still Life with Oysters and Lemon On Objects and IntimacyAnything I have read in recent years Doris Grumbach author of Fifty Days of SolitudeA gem Library JournalMark Doty's prose is insistently exploratory yet every aside every detour turns into pertinence and it all seems effortless as though the author were wondering and marveling aloud Bernard Cooper author of Truth SerumA dazzling accomplishment its radiance bred of lucid attention and acute insight The subject is the profoundly personal act of perception translated into description Doty succeeds in rendering this most contemplative of arts the still life into a riveting drama Patricia Hampl author of I Could Tell You Stori. One of the best books I have read yetNow I think there is a space inside me that is like the dark inside that hollow sphere and things float up into view images that are vessels of meaning the flotsam and detail of any particular moment Vanished things Or vanished from my life at least Who knows where they might be now to what use they may have been put what other meanings have been assigned to them p 26The still life's movement toward simplicity comes to its oddest perhaps inevitable conclusion in the development of paintings of single things rendered with an absolute attention a perfection of eye and hand brought to what is no longer in dialogue with anything else but a simple one on one exchange object to viewer p 43More world just when you think you've seen what there is to see That is how I felt coming back to life after a period of grief reentering the world Well that phrase is somewhat misleading Of course I'd never left; it was simply that I was going through the motions of a life in which I no longer had faith because I had come too close to death p 46Not that grief vanishes far from it but that it begins in time to coexist with pleasure; sorrow sits right beside the rediscovery of what is to be cherished in experience Just when you think you're done p 47Here you are the painters say a body in the city of bodies in concert in the astonishing republic of things the world of light which is the same gray world sliding past the boat lapping and chilly alive with detail as the boat pushes further forward slipping away p 55As if the world were a corridor through which the body moved p 57That I think is the deepest secret of these paintings finally although it seems just barely in the realm of the sayable this feeling that beneath the attachments and appurtenances the furnishings of selfhood what we are is attention a uick physical presence in the world a bright point of consciousness in a wide field from which we are not really separate That in a field of light we are intensifications of that light p 68