Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver… A Review

Dog Stories by Mary Oliver is about sloppy kisses, belly rubs, our furry companions insistence that you play because, what else would you rather be doing? Dog Stories is a collection of poems celebrating our love of dogs and the love we, in return, receive. They are simple poems, yet poignant, that reflect upon what all of us lucky enough to share or have shared a life with a furry companion experience...
"Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without   dogs?"… Mary Oliver from Dog Stories
Mary Oliver, dog lover & poet, writes about the dogs that have come into and left her life, but they are universal in their sentiments. The happy moments, the sad moments of a dog passing, the exuberance, the wonderment of the world, a near perfect world when shared with a dog and when we experience their unconditional love. These are dog stories, but Mary Oliver's poems go beyond just our relationships with our dogs, the poems also seem to speak to our relationship with nature, and how we as humans can be touched and made to appreciate the nature that surrounds us.

I enjoy poetry, but I don't read a lot of poetry books. I thought I would change all that this year. As a dog lover I was motivated to open the pages of Dog Stories, and enjoyed what I found between the pages. Though Mary was speaking of her dogs, it brought back fond memories of time spent with my fur baby BJ, especially her poem entitled The Sweetness of Dogs, about sitting out in the moonlight…

                                              thinking how grateful I am for the moon's
                                              perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
                                              it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
                                              leans against me and gazes up into 
                                              my face. As though I were just as wonderful
                                              as the perfect moon.
                                                                                  …excerpt from The Sweetness of Dogs


A slim volume, with over 35 poems and an essay, should be savored and enjoyed. If you share a life with a dog, or have shared, it's a perfect volume to crack the spine every once in a while to remember or remind what life with a dog can be.

*P.S. This is my first book read for the Dive into Poetry Challenge!

8 comments:

Carla said...

I'll have to check this one out. Sounds like there could be some tears on some.
I don't read alot of poetry but I kinda like the cowboy poetry about ranches and farming and horses.
I remember your photos, and stories of BJ.
Thanks for letting me know of this book and author.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Carla!
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello! It's so sweet that you remember BJ. And yes, there are a few tears in this book of poetry, but only because they stir some fond memories.

I'm thinking that cowboy poetry would be good too. Maybe poems about specific things as opposed to abstract things makes for more interesting poetry and something we can enjoy more because we can relate to it in some way.

Harvee said...

I have been thinking about this book for a poetry reading challenge. Looks good!

Vicki said...

Even though I love poetry, I haven't been reading it much. I also love dogs, and this looks like a book I'd enjoy.

Serena said...

I really loved this collection. The Dog Songs brought back so many great memories of my previous dog, Charlee. I really miss that guy.

Serena said...

btw, thanks for joining the poetry challenge.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Vicki,
Yes, Dog Stories is a nice collection. Simple, poignant and great if you are a dog lover. As I dive into more poetry, I'll have to see what else feels as interesting to read. This was interesting because it was a subject I was interested in. I did start to read another of Mary Oliver's books on poetry and became a bit bored. The poems were about nature, which i love and appreciate, but I didn't really click with it. Maybe just not in the mood.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Serena!
Thanks for hosting the poetry challenge. I'm already learning what I enjoy and that not all poetry is the same. This brought collection brought back memories for me too--- and my buy was a Keeshond too!

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