by Mary Oliver
I won an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Dog Songs through a Goodreads and publisher book giveaway.
One of my best friends turned me on to Mary Oliver several years ago, and I have been hooked ever since. Mary’s poetry is clear, concise and loving to the small things in this world that many of the rest of us simply overlook. If there is any uncertainty in her writing, it is about something that she notices and then questions. Otherwise, you will find no ambiguity in her words.
About Dog Songs? You are going to love it! Mary’s new book begins with a puppy, of course, and then we learn all the things that she (and most of us) love about dogs. She says that the thing these furry friends have that we humans just don’t, their secret ingredient, if you will, is steadfastness.
There are so many places in this book that I smiled, laughed and teared-up. While Mary shows the many nuances of these animals, she also shines light and love on their connection to our own species. She adds word to word, sentence to sentence, to offer up another poem that shows our bonds; dog to human, bound in pure love.
Mary doesn’t hide reality under the rug either. Dogs aren’t always that cute, they have gross and annoying habits, and they (sadly) have relatively short life-spans. While you read, please notice the way Mary touches her dogs. It is subtle, but do you feel the reverence?
It’s all here, in this little white book. The beautiful pen and ink illustrations by John Burgoyne are as clear and concise as Mary’s words. There’s nothing overly sweet, silly or gushy in her words, yet the dog songs may make you feel that way.
I am surrounded by gushy dog-lovers. Almost every person in my circle is a gushy dog-lover. I am not. I am a plant-animal-bug-tree-sky-water-lover. And not gushy at all. I do hear all of their songs though.