Mark Doty Poems

Mark Doty is a contemporary American poet who is regarded as one of the most important poets of his generation. He was born in Maryville, Tennessee, and attended Drake University and Goddard College. He won the National Book Award for Poetry.


by Mark Doty

‘Brilliance’ by Mark Doty describes a dying man who wants to control his own life. He eventually opens himself up to new experiences.

'Brilliance' is a striking poem that uses an extended metaphor to build an evocative work of art. It is not Mark Doty's most famous poem, nor has it been extensively anthologized or publicized. Although 'Brilliance' is not Doty's most well-known or most accomplished poem, it remains a memorable work that holds its own, building on themes of death, grief, and rebirth that are present in some of Doty's other works.

Maggie’s taking care of a man

who’s dying; he’s attended to everything,

said goodbye to his parents,

Bill’s Story

by Mark Doty

Mark Doty’s ‘Bill’s Story’ appears in his best-known poetry collection My Alexandria (1993). This poem is about the death of a speaker’s sister suffering from dementia and AIDS.

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