Hall-Kenyon Award: Golden Retrievals, by Mark Doty

Published: 9/18/2016 12:03:26 AM

On October 6, at 7 p.m. in the Concord City Auditorium, Mark Doty will receive the 2016 Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon Award in American Poetry and give a reading of his poems. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) and are available at Gibson’s Bookstore, the Concord Monitor front desk and online at poetrynightmarkdoty.eventbrite.com. To prepare for the event, the Monitor now begins a series of three Sunday poems by Doty, with commentary by Wesley McNair, who chooses each year’s recipient in consultation with Donald Hall.

One of America’s most highly regarded poets, Mark Doty is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently Deep Lane. He has also published four highly acclaimed volumes of prose. His many honors include the National Book Award and the National book Critic Circle Award. He was the first American poet to be selected for the T.S. Eliot Prize in the UK. Doty is well-known for his moving and illuminating readings, having presented his work in venues throughout the United States and abroad.

He is also a notorious dog-lover. His pet dogs roam through his poetry and his prose as well. In today’s poem, Doty enters the mind of a dog who accompanies him on a walk.


Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention

seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.

Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s – oh

joy – actually scared. Sniff the wind, then


I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue

of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?

Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,

thinking of what you never can bring back,


or else you’re off in some fog concerning

– tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:

to ensnare time’s warp (and woof!) retrieving,

my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark


a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,

entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.

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