Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Before the ever-abrupt end of our shortest month, here’s a follow-up to my annual Valentine’s Day Poem Blitz.


First, a face, a living Valentine.




Meet Pam Woolway, Short Order Poet. Her poetry is made-to-order and on-the-spot, each poem inspired by a single word supplied by the customer. She types them on a diner-style guest check, the green kind with the carbon copy so she can keep one for herself. She sets up her old-fashioned typewriter (is there any other kind?) at various locations on the island of Kauai. You can link to her blog here to learn more about her project.


I met her in a cool shop in Kapa’a called Kiko where she works and where she gave me a gift of one of her laminated poems. I kept it in my pocket for a couple of days (which is how it got bent), hoping to find a good spot for it. Eventually I came across a dog crate, and there I left “The Dog.”


poem is on top of crate, set against the yellow towel


The poem is a sweet reminder of the goodness of dogs and what they bring to our lives. It also gives me a question to meditate on. Who or what is “up” for me?


The crate was on the side of the road at a scenic overlook for Wailua Falls. No dog was inside—maybe he went to take a gander at his surroundings.



The second addendum to my Valentine’s Day poem blitz isn’t a poem at all. It’s a quote from Ali Smith’s beautiful novel Autumn.


I placed it at the base of the Kuilau Ridge Trail in Kapaa.

poem is in right forefront of photo


How do you feel about the last sentence? (In the end, not much else matters.) I myself don’t agree with it, but the desire to be seen truly is one that grows in me each year more than the last.




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After stuffing Christmas decorations in rubber bins and garbage bags, after consuming the last Christmas cookie crumb, after shelving the Christmas cards I know I won’t be sending, after putting away the thoughtful gifts I received,  I am left with one gift that will never be used.  Not for the usual reasons of fit or taste or intentional uselessness.  The postcards my daughter for me are too dear to deposit in any mailbox.  She paired lines from Shakespeare with pictures she took of our dog Jane.

Here is Jane in a witch’s cape:


The lines are Falstaff’s from Henry IV:  “You starveling, you elfskin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stockfish! O, for breath to utter what is like thee! “


Here we have Jane in a Halloween mask:



Jane looks very like one of the Weird Sisters Macbeth addresses:

you should be women, 
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret 
That you are so.


Next a Frenchified Jane in a trench coat, beret and silk scarf. She’s brought a box of Panko to coat the birds in front of her.




The lines are from Measure for Measure.  Isabella pleads for her brother’s life:

Go to your bosom

Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.


And finally, Jane sick in bed:



Paired with an excerpt from Sonnet 147:

My love is as a fever, longing still

For that which longer nurseth the disease.


Happy New Year, everyone.


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05-2010 (56) by exposeyourselfToday I read an article in the latest Rolling Stone about roaming packs of wild dogs in Detroit.  With little money for animal control and deserted buildings, empty lots, and a declining human population, Detroit is being overrun with stray dogs.  (You can link to the article here.)  The writer visits one abandoned home filled with dogs and compares it to Grey Gardens.  Sheesh.  It was one of the bleakest portraits of Detroit I’ve ever read.


Talk about kicking a man when he’s down.


So I‘m happy to celebrate something good that grows in Detroit.  Wayne State University Press recently released four books of poetry in their Made In Michigan Writers Series.  I reviewed one of the books from that series, Detroiter Terry Blackhawk’s The Light Between.  The review is posted on Night Light Revue, a book blog with a focus on Michigan writers hosted by  Megan Shaffer.   You can read my review hereThe Light Between is an antidote to Bad News Detroit, first because it shows that quality has a home here as well as in any other literary center, and second because the poems form a recovery narrative and goodness knows recovery is what we all want even if it’s someone else’s.


I’ve read but didn’t review another book from the series, Francine J. Harris’ debut collection Allegiance.  Hers is nitty-gritty Detroit, with pimps, gunshots, addicts and the same pit bulls who run loose in the Rolling Stone article. Unlike the article, the book energized rather than depressed me.  The voice is fresh, the language pops off the page.  Harris details a Detroit that’s hurting but fully human.


We’re fast approaching my second annual National It’s High Time to Buy a Book of Poetry Couple of Days, so may I suggest these books for your consideration.  If you’re tired of people tearing down Detroit, here’s a small way to build it up.


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