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Dog Songs Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204780
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204784
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The New York Times
Dog Songs....is a sweet golden retriever of a book that curls up with the reader.”

About the Author

Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-eight. Over the course of her long career, she has received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. Oliver currently lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

More About the Author

A private person by nature, Mary Oliver has given very few interviews over the years. Instead, she prefers to let her work speak for itself. And speak it has, for the past five decades, to countless readers. The New York Times recently acknowledged Mary Oliver as "far and away, this country's best-selling poet." Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28; No Voyage and Other Poems, originally printed in the UK by Dent Press, was reissued in the United States in 1965 by Houghton Mifflin. Oliver has since published many works of poetry and prose. As a young woman, Oliver studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College, but took no degree. She lived for several years at the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay in upper New York state, companion to the poet's sister Norma Millay. It was there, in the late '50s, that she met photographer Molly Malone Cook. For more than forty years, Cook and Oliver made their home together, largely in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they lived until Cook's death in 2005. Over the course of her long and illustrious career, Oliver has received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She has also received the Shelley Memorial Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award; the Christopher Award and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light; the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems; a Lannan Foundation Literary Award; and the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence. Oliver's essays have appeared in Best American Essays 1996, 1998, 2001; the Anchor Essay Annual 1998, as well as Orion, Onearth and other periodicals. Oliver was editor of Best American Essays 2009. Oliver's books on the craft of poetry, A Poetry Handbook and Rules for the Dance, are used widely in writing programs. She is an acclaimed reader and has read in practically every state as well as other countries. She has led workshops at various colleges and universities, and held residencies at Case Western Reserve University, Bucknell University, University of Cincinnati, and Sweet Briar College. From 1995, for five years, she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Art Institute of Boston (1998), Dartmouth College (2007) and Tufts University (2008). Oliver currently lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the inspiration for much of her work.

Photo Credit: Rachel Giese Brown, 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Her poems are funny, heart felt, and touching.
Anacortes shopper
I read this little book in less than an hour but the stories will be with me for a long, long time.
Becki L. James
We both love Mary Oliver's poetry and are dog owners/lovers.
L. Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Bill Gallagher on October 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My wife lovvvvves dogs--and not just our dog (though he gets special royalty status)--AND Mary Oliver. So when I bumped into this book, I knew I had to get it for her right away. And she's delighted with the book. Even I (also a lover of dogs--though less appreciative of poetry) was charmed--and more important--touched by MO's words and the poems in this slim volume (which include both previously published and new works).

Mary Oliver is actually one of the few poets who does move me--and obviously I'm not alone. Probably some experts and academics will scoff, but to me she has both a delicacy and down-to-earth quality that offer grace so even someone like myself, who might be a bit tone deaf to the mystery and romance of more obscure works, really sees/listens (<italics).

In Dog Songs, Ms. Oliver works her magic. The book goes transcends mere doggy-doggyness. It's tends to fragility, love, and hurt. As she writes in "School," "How many summers does a little dog have?" In a way, her poems, with their warmth, intangible quality, and simplicity, offer the kind of pleasure dogs give.

Mary Oliver's work tends to be simple and pure; so it's not surprising Dog Songs is as well. But, she captures the nuanced and powerful relationship we have with dogs, and does so with so few words. And the poems are enhanced by with the realistic pen-and-ink illustrations by John Burgoyne.

In short, if you love dogs or Mary Oliver, you will enjoy this collection; if you love both, you'll be delighted.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Svacina on October 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Mary Oliver's poetry, but this is the best!!! My best friends are my 5 4-legged companions and this book of poems about the beloved dog is amazing!!! Some of her poems in this book brought tears to my eyes while making my laugh too. Her work is amazing and simple and just lovely. If you love poetry and dogs, go for it.... you will not be disappointed. I read the whole book aloud to my dogs and I know they savored every moment too.
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Format: Hardcover
"Dog Songs" by Mary Oliver is an interesting collection of poems that for its theme have man's best pet and animal friend, a dog.

Inside the reader will find thirty-five poems, mostly short and one prose work about dogs, some of them recently written by author, others a bit older.

It's obvious that Mary Oliver had and still has special relationship with these beloved human friends, which can be seen due to her descriptions of these beautiful animals that are full of love and warmth.
Not all of author's poems are happy, in some reader will find author's heartbreak and grief due to the loss of beloved animal friends who were more to her than just pets.

The book is nicely illustrated with dogs images, beautifully sketched in pencil technique that makes it well-made release that every lover of dogs and poetry, or both, would want to have in her/his collection.

Due to that, this poems collection is more than just collection of some nicely written words about dogs, it's a confirmation that affection between animals and humans can be extremely powerful, and the relationships much deeper than someone who doesn't have a dog can imagine.

And that is why I can fully recommend "Dog Songs", collection of dog poems not only to dog lovers or poetry lovers, but also to all those who by reading it could become ones.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this volume of poems DOG SONGS after hearing Mary Oliver interviewed on NPR. The collection is small, consisting of about 35 poems, some of which have been published in previous editions of Ms. Oliver's poetry, accompanied by beautiful drawings of what I assume are of the many dogs that have enriched this Pulitzer-prize-winning poet 's life over the years.

The poems are warm, moving and sometimes sad and cover every aspect of a dog's stay on this earth-- which the poet acknowledges is too short-- from his beginnings ("How It Begins"), to the joy that he brings to those who know him ("Little Dog's Rhapsody in the Night"), to his just being a dog (Percy), to her death ("Her Grave").

Ms. Oliver obviously loves dogs as much as anyone can as every page in this book bears witness. She takes her dog to the poetry class she teaches, making sure she has that requirement in her contract ("The Poetry Teacher"); she has cancelled trips ("Conversations") because of a beloved dog:

I had to go away for a few days so I called
the kennel and made an appointment. I guess
Bear overheard the conversation.
"Love and company," said Bear, "are the adornments
that change everything. I know they'll be
nice to me, but I'll be sad, sad, sad."
And pitifully he wrung his paws.

I cancelled the trip.

And Ms. Oliver writes again and again of her wish that dogs could run free as she expresses so eloquently in "If You Are Holding This Book":

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.
Read more ›
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