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Dog Songs: Poems
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on October 11, 2013
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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on October 11, 2013
Poetry speaks to me. I like the standard poets, Plath, Heaney, Auden, Housman, Dickinson, and the full canon of must-read-because-you're-an-English-major, Sir Thomas Wyatt, John Donne, John Milton, Percy Shelley.

For pure love and enjoyment, I turn to Mary Oliver. When I found out her new book would be published in October, I pre-ordered it. How could I resist a book named DOG SONGS?

I read these poems aloud to my dogs. Oliver reminds us that our dogs live in the moment, but they also feel our emotions. We know when we love a dog that its lifespan will probably be shorter than our own, and we must come to terms with the grief.

In this volume, Oliver's poems give the various dogs, some hers, some from the neighborhood,voices. They do speak to us.

Her Percy poems (Percy now deceased) are magical. She says, "For often I see his shape in the clouds/and this is/a continual blessing." I look for my dogs in the clouds too. I know this feeling.

Other poems celebrate dogs running leash-free, dogs making friends, dogs sharing their finds (dead fish), the dog's adoration of his human: "Percy, meanwhile,/leans against me and gazes up into my face. As though I were just as wonderful/as the perfect moon."

If you love a dog, pick up these poems. They will help you celebrate your love, and when that someday comes, grieve the loss. Another favorite line, "Tell me you love me, he says./"Tell me again."

Yes, Mary Oliver, I will tell my dogs I love them. And I love you too.
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on May 17, 2017
If you enjoy Mary Oliver's unique poetic style, or if you just love dogs, you'll like this book. Very entertaining, and a quick read as each page is only printed on one side. I enjoyed reading it over several days. A perfect gift for a dog lover.
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on October 31, 2015
What a beautiful tribute to those beings who share their lives and existence with us humans! I can pick the book up at any time and read a poem about our friends -- I keep it close at hand. And sometimes, I read a poem to my own dog Piper. She seems to like them a lot! Mary Oliver's poetry is like stepping out into a mountain morning and breathing fresh air. She knows this world so well and reminds us of what is important!
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on November 6, 2016
Gave this to my daughert who is a Veterinarian -- she loves it!!! Sees all her "patients" in the poems.
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on September 18, 2017
Ms. Oliver hit the nail on the head w/ these wonderful poems. I am an animal lover and understood her sentiments completely.
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on February 19, 2014
These poems and vignettes ("songs") warm the soul. We lost our beloved dog as I was reading this, if you can imagine. It really made my laugh, and cry, and nod my head 'yes, yes.' If you love Mary Oliver (a treasure, to be sure) and dogs (seriously...this book is for dog people), this book is a must-read. Again and again.
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on January 6, 2014
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on January 16, 2014
Mary Oliver always has beautiful poems and poetic prose and it's all here. The poems captures the joy and angst of sharing your life with a dog, both the funny and sad. Mostly it is a homage to dogs she has lived with (you can't say "owned") but is able to provide an homage to friends that have shared my life, as well. Mostly it made me cry but it was the "Oh, yeah" feelings that i found so true. The dog thoughts and the expressions of their faces is accurately portrayed from "I haven't eaten in 3 days and i have to eat NOW" and the joy of going on a walk without a leash. if you have ever shared your life with a dog you; you know exactly what she shares. This is not a book for "cat people".
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on January 7, 2014
For anyone who broadly loves poetry and dogs--or any pet. They will very much love this book.
Mary Oliver's poems have always deeply touched my wife and me over the decades. We must have nearly all the books she's published. And now that she too is a senior septugenarian--her heart and genius have only become greater, richer, brilliantly--intellectually even more deeply touching. If you are touched by poets like Rumi, Rilke, Merwin, Bly, Franz Wright, Charles Simic--I hope you will have already been reading Mary Oliver before this book. If you read this book, you will, as we have been, be astounded by how much more you will deeply enjoy walking your dogs or enjoying even more richly your time with any pets you have
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