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This interview is taken from PN Review 104, Volume 21 Number 6, July - August 1995.

A Talk with Mark Doty Michael Klein

MARK DOTY is the author of four books of poetry, Turtle, Swan, Bethlehem in Broad Daylight, My Alexandria, and the forthcoming Atlantis. For the greater part of the last decade, he taught in the MFA Program for Writers at Venrmont College and at Sarah Lawrence College. My Alexandria, published in 1993 by the University of Illinois Press after being selected by Philip Levinefor the National Poetry Series, won the National Book Critic's Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was nominated for the National Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award. Doty recently received fellowships from the Ingram Merrill, Rockefeller, and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundations. This interview took place in the house which Doty purchased in 1990 when he moved to Provincetown with Wally Roberts, his companion of 12 years who died of AIDS in January 1994.

MICHAEL KLEIN: Have poems frightened you?

MARK DOTY: Yes. Over the past five years since Wally tested HIV-positive, poetry has always been a way for me to struggle with what I was feeling - to struggle with naming the condition under which we were living. That was true before, too. The reason I write is to try to figure out my experience by shaping it. The urgency of that struggle was highly underlined for me by Wally's illness. During that time I'd be going along about my business in the outer world, .and to return to the desk was to enter into the inner ...

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