Reviewed by Chelsey Clammer

It is the language Mark Doty uses in Still Live with Oysters and Lemon that intrigued me most while reading the book. Because this book is focused around still life paintings and not any sort of narrative arc per se, Doty has to bring movement to the text by being especially intentional about which verbs and nouns he chooses for his descriptions.

          He does precisely this in the first few pages.

          Who could give the coiled peel the greatest sense of heft and curve,           or spiral it down from the edge of a table, with the most convincing           sense of gravity's pull? In Cornelis de Heem's The Flute of Wine, a               swoop of lemon peel occupies the very center of the picture,                       looping down into the space below the edge of the table and back               up again to end in a flourish of curl, impossibly long, as if the little             fruit had yielded an unlikely bounty of peel to serve the painter's                 purposes. (9, emphasis mine) 


All but the last italicized word convey a sense of movement—coiling, spiraling, pulling, swooping, etc. Due to the fact that the still life paintings are, obviously, inanimate and unmoving objects, Doty uses transient verbs and moving adjectives to describe the lemons, a technique that keeps the reader reading. With these active descriptions, Doty does not desert the reader in a stagnant space, leaving her to look at a  landscape of numbing, motionless lemons. Though this could have easily occurred due to the lack of actual action in the text. But Doty avoids this travesty as he perfectly executes the craft of writing vivid descriptions. This leads the reader past a motionless object and into a text full of movement. 

About the last italicized word: at the end of the paragraph Doty stops the movement. He yields the reader. His use of yielded creates a speed bump in the flow of the paragraph, indicating to the reader that here is the end of this description and its movement—the painting captured, its lively descriptions now done. From this language-induced halt, Doty then jumps into the next description of a still life painting—another one that is full of movement even though it is an unmoving object. And the reader continues to read, enters herself into the flow of the text and moves with it, lazy river style. 

Aside from these active verbs and lively descriptions Doty uses in Still Live with Oysters and Lemon, I was also intrigued by the use of taking an inventory of paintings and objects in order to convey some aspect of himself, as well as of the significant people in his life. He does this because by saying something about the people with whom he has important relations, Doty also says something about himself. In the tradition of Philip Lopate's essays “Portrait of Myself” and “My Drawer,” Doty creates a sense of presence and belonging in the world by taking inventories at specific moments and sprinkling them throughout the text (found on pages 12, 20, 32, 52, and 60).The reader encounters the first inventory on page 12 as Doty describes the things found in his Mamaw's purse: 

          Doan's Pills. Lavender water. Smelling salts in a tiny glass ampule....           Round tin of snuff....A tiny red edition of the New Testament,                     tissues in small packets, a sparkly pair of multifaceted earrings                   whose clasp has long ago broken; short, dull-tipped pencils, a                   cluster of the ubiquitous, potentially useful rubber bands; a scrap of           ribbon snipped from the flowers at whose grave? And then, the item           to which my attention is repeatedly drawn, to which all the other                 items are merely ancillary: those red, pinwheeled peppermints. (12)


From this inventory, the reader gets a sense of the type of person Mamaw was (religious, practical, perhaps superstitious and a little nostalgic), which in turn helps to convey the relationship between Doty and Mamaw, to juxtapose them, to hint at the qualities of their relationship. Later on in the text, Doty draws on this inventory again. He returns to the peppermints, uses them to re-approach his theme of independence versus connection. “Suppose I were to make a still life of my grandmother's peppermints....I could array those little disks in their transparent wrappers against the dark...perhaps lying alone on a surface, perhaps a group of them in a silver dish.” Doty goes on to describe his mother's personality as he starts to remember her character traits through various associations with the peppermints. He continues discussing his hypothetical painting: 

          These associations...would be brought to bear upon my painting of             the peppermints, but none of them would be visible; there's no                   reason the viewer would know any of this [about my mother]. I could           render only what can be seen....And yet there is something more                 here, and that something is what nags at me to write this                           book....Why, if all that is personal has fallen away, should these                   pictures matter so? Why should they be alight with a feeling of                   intimacy? Interiority makes itself visible....Is that what soul or spirit             is, then, the outward-flying attention, the gaze that binds us to the             world?” (48-50). 


By frequently using the form of an inventory throughout the book, the named objects stand on their own, stand out to the reader, and thus Doty is able to return to these specific items/signifiers later on. Upon these returns to certain objects, he shows how their significance has grown, how they get to the heart of his book. These connections provide a rich philosophical question about our relations to the world. Ultimately, this question continues to investigate the theme of independence versus connection that is prevalent in the text. This, in turn, gives the reader a sense of her own connection with Doty's ideas.

I imagine it like this: the reader sits in her comfy chair, alone, reading Still Live with Oysters and Lemon with no one else around, independently looking at the still life paintings through words. A connection to the paintings and what they say to her increases with each lively descriptions. It is not just about how the inventories stick out in her mind, how she admires the specific details Doty uses to describe the people in his life, but it's about how her subsequent knowledge of these personal and telling details encourage her to continue to find her own connections to this text. How does she relate? The images and meditative considerations she has while reading the book help to bind her to the world, a world which, as Doty shows, is full of that vibrant art, those lemons, this beautifully moving still life.


Still Life with Oysters and Lemon
By Mark Doty
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press
Language: English
ISBN: 9780807066096


 


Comments

10/11/2014 2:50pm

I read so many article but this one is the best i have read.you provide very informative information.i will share this blog with my friends so they also get some useful information.thank for sharing with us.

Reply
05/18/2017 4:48pm

When locating a hack tool for Roblox video games, perseverance is an essential point that you should look for. It would be extremely challenging to discuss how this hack works to an average net individual.

Reply
10/11/2014 3:13pm

I truly appreciate your work and tips given by you is helpful to me. I will share this information with my family & friends. This is a great website, keep the positive reviews coming. This is a great inspiring .I am pretty much pleased with your good work. You put really very helpful information. I am looking to reading your next post. !!!! I do think, to really become a good online advertiser you must have good hold on words. I think may be the most difficult thing to do being a blogger is to get significant traffic for your website with your content. I appreciate your efforts and great words.

Reply

Always has really good posts and topics please keep it uploads of blogs are going under lately from lack of new posts etc.

Reply
02/20/2015 11:59am


Klebe BH | (Brust-anhebenden Push-up Klebe BH) wird von 3M hergestellt und eignet sich perfekt für trägerlose oder rückenfreie und strapless Kleidung.

Reply
02/27/2015 5:47am

Lemon is also best tonic for skin problems, stomach problems, solution of weakness in summer due to heat & many more ways to use it according to issue. Well post good to read it.

Reply

Your notion is excellent,Its very effectively composed.

Reply
03/31/2015 7:33am

Great publish.Many thanks for sharing this concept.Really,Your web site is not only instructive but practical as well.

Reply
06/02/2015 11:38pm

Great review! I appreciate how you have highlighted the narrative techniques used by Doty in this book. Only somebody with a vast reservoir of words will be able to write about inanimate objects like Doty. I agree with you that his using movement in his descriptions for the still life paintings are exemplary! The inventory of things to show characterization is also a technique I enjoy. It's like the author lets the reader participate in his book. Through the inventory, the author invites the reader to discover and know the character with him. Still Life with Oysters and Lemon is an amazing book and your review is an amazing read!

Reply

I am sure this post has touched all the internet viewers, its really really pleasant post on building up new blog.

Reply
09/14/2015 2:22am

It is really helpful and a lot of knowledge and learning for it so many thing it is useful and get the best thing.

Reply
09/14/2015 1:54pm

This response isnt that good as I heard. If you want to improve your skills contact our service.

Reply

thanks for all the info I will tell this to my friends

Reply

It’s amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you very often.

Reply

Educational research is needed to solve the educational problems. We should work for more development in the world. Thanks for sharing this awesome article. Get professional content writing service to solve your problems.

Reply
12/30/2015 7:39am

It is really amazing and very unique blog.thanks for sharing.

Reply
12/30/2015 7:49am

Very interesting post. Your own web site is swiftly turning out to be certainly one of my favorites Hey! Just wanted to say great website. Keep up the good work!

Reply

I am genuinely impressed by the way you detailed out anything. It can be really going to assist me quite a bit. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so clearly.

Reply

This is the perfect webpage for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I in fact would wantHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. great stuff, just huge!

Reply
12/30/2015 12:29pm

I can't say too much about this idea, yet it's pretty interesting discussion indeed.

Reply
12/30/2015 12:49pm

Great write-up !! A text have their value inside of a web page.

Reply

This is an remarkable task which i admire a good deal. Emergency solutions are offered inside a wide variety, that is what truly tends to make me so pleased and grateful. I need to appreciate the challenging function behind. Thanks for the share.

Reply

yeah it was such an awesome blog that i have updated.. :)

Reply

I can see that you are putting a lot of efforts into your site. Keep posting the good work. Some really helpful information in there.
Nice to see your site.

Reply
01/23/2016 9:12am

The best lighting for smart people. Visit our site and ensure the adequacy of price .
Informative and interesting which we share with you so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts. I am tiring the same best work from me in the future as well. I'll use this information to provide research paper help.

Reply
03/12/2016 6:16am

Great information on your site here. I love this post because we can get some useful information from your blog. I expect more post from you guys.  

Reply

The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe.
All the time go after your heart.

Reply
07/19/2016 8:14am

Now I am ready to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming over again to read further news.

Reply
09/07/2016 4:06pm

I delight in the content on your websites. Thank you

Reply
09/07/2016 4:08pm

I feel very good to visit this website , because his article provides the knowledge and insight that were new to me .

Reply

Great publication, Nice much informative article . It should be bookmarked.

Reply
11/26/2016 12:17pm

Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues.
It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful.
Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Utilize a nasal saline spray or a neti pot to remove your nasal flows, if they’re really
feeling particularly blocked. Some individuals stay clear of nose breathing because their passages

Reply

Hire web designer from renowned web designing firms and
see what magic they create for you. Although we are located
in the Jacksonville Florida, our websiteservices are nationally mobilized to
meet the website and design needsof any business outside of the Florida area
as well. With SEO being the new battle fit that every investor is turning to
generating traffic, get new customers while retaining the loyalty of the already
existing ones, Albuquerque SEO designs works to improve the ratings of sites
and how they appear on search engines.

Reply
11/26/2016 1:28pm

The main reason why following current web design trends even just a little is all right sort of
falls along the lines of pleasing the public that is
seeing such new trends and expect to see it continue;

Reply

Hire web designer from renowned web designing firms and see what
magic they create for you. That’s why the optimal website designer needs to have a marketing brain.

Reply
11/26/2016 2:10pm

I truly appreciate this post. I¡¦ve been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thx again

Reply
11/26/2016 3:00pm

It is for these and many more reasons that you, as the owner
of a growth and profit-oriented business, should always opt
for custom web design.

Reply
11/26/2016 3:24pm

Useful information. Fortunate me I found your site by accident, and I’m surprised why this accident did
not came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

Reply
11/26/2016 3:36pm

A person necessarily lend a hand to make significantly
posts I would state. That is the very first
time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised
with the research you made to create this actual put up amazing.
Magnificent activity!

Reply
11/26/2016 3:45pm

The expert internet site engineers conduct numerous examinations on the internet site and also recommend better
ways to enhance thee usefulness of the web
site for the users.

Reply
01/07/2017 2:59am


facetime for laptop

Reply
02/26/2017 7:02am

This is not true that xbox live code generator hasn't generates xbox live codes.

Reply
03/11/2017 12:49pm

Because you have observed, weight reduction pads might seem just like a wonder remedy however they not necessarily almost all they are yet to damaged as much as become.

Reply

Look into the backlinks beneath regarding weight reduction guidance that really functions.

Reply

The Tablet May Recover Your own Intimate Lifestyle Sexual unarguably is among the greatest presents associated with character, and also to betray sexual intercourse is the same as betraying character by itself.

Reply

Paradisepoker dropped however sexual acquired, usage of the actual unacceptable apple company simply by Adam is the greatest point which has actually occurred towards the human being type.

Reply
03/11/2017 6:05pm

Instead, you have to talk usually, just like you tend to be casually dealing with individuals within a regular dialog.

Reply
03/11/2017 6:05pm

Nevertheless, a person have to make sure which any kind of essential details tend to be obviously stressed.

Reply
03/11/2017 6:05pm

Do that and you may learn how the teleconference unleashes profit your own cell phone.

Reply
03/12/2017 3:09am

to provide gentle within the planet 17 B'.

Reply

You need to be adding to 15-30 mg associated with zinc each day together with a copper mineral health supplement.

Reply
03/13/2017 10:41am

Investigation indicates it may safeguard the experience associated with defense cellular material which experience chemical substances that could or else hinder their own regular functionality.

Reply
03/13/2017 10:03pm

Occasionally some thing over-the-counter although isn't very sufficient for any lady to obtain back again the actual sexual interest he or she as soon as suffered from.

Reply
03/14/2017 2:40pm

The truth is that it must be section of the Christian's training course.

Reply

Through current online surveys, it is often discovered which width surgical procedures tend to be more efficient compared to phalloplasty.

Reply
04/28/2017 1:58am

Big Data industry is growing at a rate of 10% each year and leaves its impact on nearly every business house worldwide hadoop certification

Reply
05/04/2017 6:59am

As fans of the sport of wrestling, we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the WWE 2K18 game. In part due to the enormous success of the existing game, our expectations are sky high.
We are hoping for a repeat of the current fascinating experience with the new game as well. When will the wait end? Want to know more about it? Check out this website.

Reply
05/22/2017 2:22am

I essentially need to offer significant thanks for this magnificent post, quality article and will look a more noteworthy measure of your different enchanting substance. Splendid sharing!

Reply
05/24/2017 7:40am

iTube is an incredible application that lets you download and play your preferred videos, audio and music albums on your Android device. itube apk

Reply



Leave a Reply