Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mary Oliver's Dog Songs rule

Vick Mickunas gave me his review copy of Dog Songs, the soon-to-be-released book of poems by Mary Oliver.

He wrote a little note in the book, signed it over to me this way:

"Dear Jeff, poetry is an art. It rarely pays but it sure feels good. Vick"

On Vick's radio show, recorded over the phone while I was still in DC, I recited "The Courage All Around " and "Always Jewish, Lately Palestinian."

Then Vick recited Mary O's poem, "How It Is With Us, How It Is With Them."

It's a great poem. Everyone should read it. "The Storm (Bear)" is another good one, short and wise. It says better what I've tried to say in some of my own poems, like, say, "Ecstasy" or "The Smell of Eternity," which is also a dog poem.

But the poem from Dog Songs that I want to share here is "If You Are Holding This Book," which reads:

You may not agree, you may not care, but
if you are holding this book you should know
that of all the sights I love in this world--
and there are plenty--very near the top of
the list is this one: dogs without leashes."

There's only one thing that I'd change in Oliver's poem. I'd move the "of" at the end of the fourth line  to the beginning of the fifth and last line. How's that for picking nits?

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