Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dog Songs: Poems by Mary Oliver -- Paws & Books

Many people love Mary Oliver for her beautiful poetry and wisdom. If you know her work, did you know she loves dogs? Not a surprise, right? This book of dog poems was a gift from our dear friends The Schnoodles, Cookie & Zippie. In some of these poems, Oliver speaks directly to her dog(s). They have a conversation. It's great to read these reflections, because sometimes it can feel like a dog's mind is beyond the scope of human perception.

A few years ago, at a poetry reading, several poets made fun of Oliver's work--and the audience laughed. Perhaps Oliver's sincerity is suspect to some. It shouldn't be. (Or maybe there is some poetic issue about her work that I don't understand.) Oliver knows the natural world and records it beautifully. I'm not sure that Dog Songs is up to the level of her most beloved work, but it is a special read, especially for dog lovers (like me).

If you are a writer, her poetry handbooks are incredibly useful. I love Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse, but A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry is useful for craft suggestions and prompts.

You can listen to Mary Oliver read a poem from Dog Songs here.

There is also a marvelous interview with Krista Tippett over at one of my favorite radio shows, On Being. (& a picture of Oliver with one of her doggies!)

Monday, January 23, 2017

I Am a Bumble Bee

In the latest, breaking news, I am a bumble bee!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Paws & Books

Hi! Tootsie's Mom, Renée, here.

In 2017, I'm going to run a series called "Paws & Books." I'll post about works of dog literature -- poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and maybe a few doggy-user manuals, too, because we all need help being properly trained by our dogs. My longtime dream is to write a work of dog literature, so I'm collecting an annotated bibliography of my research, and these posts will be part of that process.

If you have ideas about what you would like to read or learn about these books, please let me know in the comments! If you have dog-book suggestions -- even if you think I know them -- please let me know.

To start, I'll share with you one of the first books I ever read about a dog: Harry the Dirty Dog.

Harry the Dirty Dog is essentially about how you can be seen as two dogs, and how because of how you're seen, you can be lost (and found), unknown (or known), but that inside you're essentially the same dog. After a bath, Harry runs away, and gets all sorts of dirty, so when he comes home his family doesn't recognize him. What is Harry to do? The book asks an essential question: if your appearance changes, are you still the same dog?

Did you know that you can listen to and watch Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog online? Here's the link.
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