GalleyCrush: What Is the Grass


Today’s GalleyCrush is Mark Doty’s What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life, forthcoming from W. W. Norton on April 14, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “Effortlessly blending biography, criticism, and memoir, National Book Award–winning poet and best-selling memoirist Mark Doty explores his personal quest for Walt Whitman.” 

First lines: “When Walt Whitman walked through Brooklyn Heights–a sharp-aired morning, say, in the newly minted spring of 1855–headed toward the printing office of his friend Andrew Rome, did he know what he was carrying?”

Big blurb: “Quick-witted, slyly erotic, and sometimes ecstatic, this book explores Mark Doty’s relationship with Walt Whitman, or with the idea of Walt Whitman. It is intimate in its reality and in all that it imagines, and it captures with splendid lyricism the author’s generous obsession with his forebear. Mark Doty has written a literate and lovely volume.” —Andrew Solomon 

Book notes: Hardcover, biography, 288 pages.  

Author bio: Mark Doty is the author of more than ten volumes of poetry and three memoirs. His many honors include the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, and, in the United Kingdom, the T. S. Eliot Prize. He is a professor at Rutgers University and lives in New York City.  

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