The Genesis of The Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Here is Salvador Dali’s 1937 oil painting Metamorphosis of Narcissus, referenced in the five sections of the same title in Narcissus Resists:

I wrote “Metamorphosis of Narcissuss” in Provincetown during the summer of 2002 when I was taking Mark Doty’s advanced poetry workshop and workshopped this poem in his class. I had originally included it in The Erotic Postulate (I later removed and replaced it with “Square Dance”), thinking that its tone was so opposite the sonnet sequence that they had to be kept far apart, in different manuscripts.  But then one day I was playing around and spliced it with the sonnet sequence and loved how the different tones played off each other, how its five sections broke up the sonnets and created almost “chapters” for the narrative of the sequence.  Narcissus Resists was born.


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