A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A Compendium of Creatures by Mark Doty and Darren Waterston. Prestel, 2013. Hardcover catalogue. 112 pages with color reproductions.
A collaboration between a contemporary painter and an award-winning poet, this 21st-century bestiary is a spellbinding artistic meditation on the mysteries and diversity of the animal kingdom.
Originating in the Middle Ages, bestiaries were illustrated volumes that described various animals—some real, some mystical. The natural history and illustration of each beast were usually accompanied by a moral lesson. In this beautifully illustrated book, respected painter Darren Waterston and distinguished poet Mark Doty come together to breathe new life into the medieval genre. Waterston’s precise and haunting silhouettes depict species from insect to bird to mammal, captured in motion as they hunt their prey, build their nests, or protect their young. Accompanying these illustrations are Doty’s poetic observations on the wonders of the animal world—its panoply of sounds and shapes, its dignity and its cruelty. Lovers of art, animals, and poetry will delight in this elegant volume that captures nature’s exquisite and terrible beauty.