“Theory of Beauty (Grackles on Montrose)” is a thoroughly satisfying descriptive poem (it is of course redundant to say Doty poem and great description in the same sentence), full of sounds. Not all that many poems have a lot of noises, necessarily. Car horns and dog snoring and through-the-wall radio ads and all the rest — it’s noticeable when a poem really pays attention to them.
“Theory of Beauty (Grackles on Montrose)” begins with a place-setting, “Eight o’clock, warm Houston night / and in the parking lot the grackles / hold forth royally, in thick trees.” (This, by the way, is what a grackle looks like.) Three lines and the scene is set, complete with the beginning of the birds’ characterization, with “hold forth royally.”
The main delight of this poem is, of course, Continue reading