Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn introduces this weekend’s poems:
The Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Mary Oliver has just published a new collection, Dog Songs, celebrating the love we feel for our faithful canine friends and the joy they bring to our lives. A New York Times feature by Dana Jennings this past Tuesday began, “Mary Oliver has spent most of her life with a mind ripe with poems —and with at least one steadfast dog by her side.” Mary is the author of more than twenty collections of poems as well as two books on the art of writing verse, A Poetry Handbook and Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse.
Today and over the weekend, we’ll run poems from Mary Oliver’s splendid new book alongside photographs of dogs cherished by Mary, Andrew, and myself.
The first selection is “Little Dog’s Rhapsody In The Night”:
He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough
he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.
“Tell me you love me,” he says.
“Tell me again.”
Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.
(From Dog Songs by Mary Oliver. Reprinted by arrangement of Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Random House LLC. © 2013 by Mary Oliver. Photo of Mary and her Havanese, Ricky)