My friend Mark Doty won the National Book Award for poetry last night! And he's as wonderful a prose writer as he is a poet, incapable of writing anything but astonishing books, no matter how frequently he hits the carriage return. (Typing that, I realize the whole notion of a carriage return is nearly obsolete, but "how frequently he hits enter" lacks poetry. Return is somehow a much more romantic word than enter.)
You should pick up all of his books, but this afternoon, I'll particularly recommend Firebird, a memoir about his childhood that is sad and hilarious and beautiful, and captures the strangeness and drama of childhood (especially if you were perhaps a little awkward as a child--he will let you see the beauty of your own young awkwardness). It's one of my favorite books ever.
I would include an excerpt, but I foolishly loaned a student my copy last year, and she NEVER RETURNED IT.
An video interview with Mark on Galleycat (note the ribbon of his NBA finalist medal around his neck!)
A review at Salon
Buy it at Powell's