The World According to Dog

As I collect both dog poetry and dog photos, I was delighted to recently discover The World According to Dog; Poems and Teen Voices by Joyce Sidman, with photographs by Doug Mindell (Houghton, 2003). The genesis of this lovely book was poems inspired by the author’s dog, which she wrote when going through a difficult time. The author’s poems are interspersed with brief essays and photos of their dogs submitted by¬† teenage authors in response to the author’s invitation on teen listserves and web sites. Ms. Sidman’s poems are illustrated with stunning photos by Doug Mindell, a professional photographer. The contrast of these dramatic yet soft-focus black and white photos with Ms. Sidman’s haiku-like verse makes the book a stunning work of art. Although it is hard to pick a favorite among many wonderful poems in the book, I think the one that resonates most with me is called “The Splash of Your Heart.” I want to/gather you back/midair/that handful of puppy/you once were/keep you curled/in my palm/never hear the splash/of your heart/hitting the world. Another favorite, “Dog in Bed,” concludes: This is how it is with love./Once invited,/it steps in gently,/circles twice,/and takes up as much space/as you will give it. The poems are simple, direct, and heartfelt, and the author’s keen observations of her dog definitely describe “the world according to dog.” A wonderful gift for dog friends or just to savor for yourself!

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