What's the world but shine / and seem: Radical Kitsch and Mark Doty's Figurative Poetics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


To discuss Mark Doty’s poems, notoriously full of sequins and shimmer, might initially seem counter-intuitive to a discussion of dark ecology. However, this essay argues that Doty’s decorative descriptive style, conveyed through his highly figurative poetics, can be considered in terms of Timothy Morton’s concept of “radical kitsch” that is very much part of Morton’s broader claims on dark ecology. Radical kitsch suggests a deliberately excessive representation of the environment that by being so excessive draws attention to itself and its failure to represent nature, thus foregrounding the otherness, or “non-identity” of the environment. Although relatively overlooked by ecocritics in comparison to other theories proposed in Ecology Without Nature, I will show how the concept of radical kitsch is illustrated by Doty’s poetic emphasis on artifice to describe marine life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDark Nature
Subtitle of host publicationAnti-Pastoral Essays in American Literature and Culture
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages198
ISBN (Electronic)978-1498528115
ISBN (Print)1498528112
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameEcocritical Theory and Practice
PublisherLexington Books


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