Moment of Exhilaration in Soul’s on Ice

Category: Poetry
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
Pages: 2 Views: 1021

As Mark Doty passes the fresh-fish display in the grocery store, he specifically notices the organized layout of the Mackerel. This everyday experience gets Mark Doty thinking and reflecting. Eventually, he creates a deeply insightful poem out of this simple experience, a poem he calls “Souls on Ice”. As Doty begins the poem with a simple description, the metaphors guide and lead him throughout the end. Once a simple idea fell into his hands, Doty felt a moment of exhilaration.

When Doty starts the poem’s investigative process, “a terrific kind of exhilaration me (Doty)” takes place. The sentences in the poem, “distinguished from the other –nothing about them of individuality”, made the movement of his writing clear. Beginning with This moment of exhilaration is the catalyst that quickly led him to write two sentences: “one that considers the fish as replications of the ideal, Platonic Mackerel, and one that likewise imagines them as the intricate creations of an obsessively repetitive jeweler”.

The pace picked up at this point, and after the idea had grown, Doty could let the poem write for itself. It seems as if the ideas in the poem fell onto paper before Doty even thought about them. Surprisingly, his writing presented ideas that amazed him too. Mark Doty seems to have heightened his speed during the moment of exhilaration. Before when writing the beginning of the poem, Doty took more time to try to find his direction in the poem. He starts off the two stanzas slowly with an “exploratory description”.

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However, during his peak of excitement, he seems to have been lost in the great amount of thought and idea that had hit him. During his process of writing he made many mistakes but he had totally forget about them “because the poem has worked the charm of its craft on my (Doty’s) memory; it convinces me (Doty) that it is an artifact of a process of inquiry. ” With these words, Doty has created the notion that the he wasn’t writing the poem, but instead, the poem was writing him.

It is not until further through his poem Doty realizes that he had been referring to “something overwhelmingly close to home. ” Through my first reading I realized, as Mark Doty did, the main idea of commonness rather than individuality in the poem. However, it was not until my second reading that I noticed how closely this poem tied to Doty at heart. Already in the beginning Doty closely relates the Mackerel to human beings. When we lose our life we are like the same Mackerel laying in a pile next to each other, essentially the same.

Like Doty’s partner, who had died, she has lost her individuality and is now the common person. Doty later on also expresses the idea of a soap bubble that shimmers with different colors. Each one of these colors is the individual trying to become a unique and different being. However, as everyone is trying to become diverse, they actually become the same.

Work Cited: DiYanni, Robert, and Pat C. Hoy. "Souls on Ice by Mark Doty. " Occasions for Writing: Evidence, Idea, Essay. Boston, MA: Thomson Heinle, 2008. Print.

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Moment of Exhilaration in Soul’s on Ice. (2018, Sep 24). Retrieved from

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