Darren WaterstonMark Doty

A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A Compendium of Creatures

Darren Waterston, Mark Doty

A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A Compendium of Creatures



Edition Size



Aquatint, Etching, Letterpress


Portfolio, Print


18 × 13 × 1.25 in


Achenbach Graphic Arts Council

$ 9,800.00


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Boston Athenaeum

Emory University

Getty Research Institute

Rice University

Stanford University

The British Library

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The University of the Arts in Philadelphia

Trinity College

University of Delaware Library

University of Houston

University of Minnesota

Wesleyan University

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.

Waterston depicts silhouetted animal and plant forms in emotionally charged configurations meant to be as menacing as they are playful. “As Mark’s extraordinary poetry took form,” Waterston has said, “I painted in response, inspired by his words though not directly illustrating them.”
Listen to the artist & author talk about the work at the NYPL event here

The portfolio of prints by Darren Waterston and poems by Mark Doty is limited to an edition of 30 numbered copies, 9 artist proof copies designated AP1-AP9, and 5 trial proof sets of the prints only, including one OKTP set, each designated as TPA-TPD or OKTP. The portfolio contains 12 color prints printed in etching, aquatint, water-bite aquatint, and spit-bite aquatint on Somerset White paper by Paulson Bott Press, Berkeley. Twelve letterpress text pages, title page, and colophon page were designed by Jennifer Sonderby and printed on Somerset White paper by Alan Hillesheim, Oakland. Each sheet measures 16 ¾ x 12 inches and is contained in a portfolio made by John DeMerritt, Emeryville.

Commissioned and published by the Achenbach Graphic Arts Council (AGAC), in support of the art acquisitions program of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s prints and drawings department at the Legion of Honor Museum. This is the last available copy.