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The Essence of Lawrence – Mark Doty gives Inaugural D.H. Lawrence Lecture

February 23, 2017

In an event co-hosted by the UNM Alumni Association through their Lobo Living Room, award-winning author Mark Doty gave a discerning, passionate, and both scholarly and artistic reading of Lawrence poems.

Doty offered insights into Lawrence’s use of image, presentation of nature, and how these mirror, reflect, and juxtapose the human condition. During his 45-minute presentation, Doty read and interpreted a number of Lawrence’s poems and then proceeded to read some of his own as well as experts from his memoirs.

Doty’s reading powerfully demonstrated how important D.H. Lawrence’s work remains to the present day. In particular, Lawrence’s connection to nature and his ability to portray the soul of flora and fauna is one that was never more timely as we discover how fragile our environment and our planet truly are.

Doty is the author of nine books of poetry, including Deep LaneFire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the 2008 National Book Award, and My Alexandria, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the T.S. Eliot Prize in the UK. Doty is also the author of three memoirs, including The New York Times-bestselling Dog YearsFirebird, and Heaven’s Coast, as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World Into Word. Doty has received two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award, and the Witter Bynner Prize.

This event marks the beginning of a series the UNM Department of English Language and Literature hopes to continue every spring.

The D.H. Lawrence Ranch Initiatives, who procured the funding for this event thanks to a grant from the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation, fundraises on behalf of the D.H. Lawrence Ranch.The purpose of the Ranch Initiatives is to preserve the legacy of novelist D.H. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda Lawrence.

Widely considered one of the most important writers of the twentieth century, the British novelist owned only one piece of property in his lifetime, a 160-acre ranch located some fifteen miles outside of Taos, New Mexico which was bequeathed to the University of New Mexico by Frieda Lawrence.  Fundamental to the mission of the D. H. Lawrence Ranch Initiatives is preservation of the property and historic buildings.

The Ranch Initiatives program seeks to place the operation of the property on a firm financial basis and to restore and develop the site so that it can support educational, cultural, and research activities for students, faculty, and the greater New Mexico community. This mission honors the directives of Frieda Lawrence’s will, which stipulated that the property “be used for educational, cultural, charitable, and recreational purposes.”​

You can view a brochure with a fundraising plan here.

See a video of the event and lecture here.