Reviews for Dog Songs

Library Journal Reviews 2013 September #2

Winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Oliver (American Primitive) continues to build her legacy with this latest collection of new and selected poems, marking 50 years since her first book of poetry was published. Oliver's keen intuition of the natural world has allowed her to invent a poetic voice distinct to the American landscape and unmatched by that of her contemporaries. Here she is relaxed and at home in poems that read like songs and tell the stories of her companionship--the experience of love, trust, loss, grief, joy--with the animals she's spent a lifetime getting to know. In "Percy, Waiting for Ricky," the image is simple, the language straightforward, and the narrative complete, so the connection among the poet, her lines, and the reader is immediate, clarifying that reading poetry shouldn't be difficult: "Your friend is coming, I say/ to Percy and name a name// and he runs to the door, his/ wide mouth in its laugh-shape,// and waves, since he has one, his tail.// Emerson, I am trying to live"; then: "How// would it be to be Percy, I wonder, not/ thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward." VERDICT Oliver makes writing poetry look easy, yet she requires your attention. For readers seeking tangible meaning, Oliver gives lines of plenty here.--Annalisa Pesek, Library Journal

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