Harper Perennial, 1995
In Atlantis, Professor Mark Doty claims the mythical lost island as his own: a fading paradise whose memory he must keep alive at the same time that he is forced to renounce its hold on him. Atlantis recedes just as the lives of those Doty loves continue to be extinguished by the devastation of AIDS. Set in the harbor village of Provincetown, whose charming, cluttered landscape Doty brings to life, the collection chronicles the illness and death of Doty's beloved partner, as well as many others whose worlds have been both ravaged and broadened by this disease. Doty's struggle is to reconcile with, and even to celebrate, the evanescence of our earthly connections—to those we love, to the shifting physical landscape, even to our strongest feelings—and to understand how we can love more at the very moment that we must consent to let go.