I opened Oliver's book expecting many eloquently written poems and intricate illustrations. Additionally, however, Dog Songs offers so much inspiration and joy, similar to the beloved canines themselves. Dogs teach humans to wander freely, smell deeply, and live boundlessly. As Sammy suggests, "life is about the wonderful things that may happen if you break the ropes that are holding you." —Emma— From Emma's Picks
“The popularity of [Dog Songs] feels as inevitable and welcome as a wagging tail upon homecoming.” —The Boston Globe
Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs is a celebration of the special bond between human and dog, as understood through the poet’s relationships to the canines that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. Oliver’s poems begin in the small everyday moments familiar to all dog lovers, but through her extraordinary vision, these observations become higher meditations on the world and our place in it.
Dog Songs includes visits with old friends, like Oliver’s beloved Percy, and introduces still others in poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life merge as fellow travelers and as guides, uniquely able to open our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.
About the Author
Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28. 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. She has led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
The New York Times
“Dog Songs... is a sweet golden retriever of a book that curls up with the reader.”
The Boston Globe
“Oliver… is one of our most adored poets, and a longtime lover of dogs. The popularity of [Dog Songs] feels as inevitable and welcome as a wagging tail upon homecoming.”
“Mary Oliver is a canine lover par excellence. Her combo of woman’s best friend and poetry is utterly irresistible.”
“Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs is, plainly put, a lovely and accessible book of poems.”
“Oliver’s capacity for simple ecstasy in response to the natural world remains. The new Dog Songs turns… material about canines into something meaningful.”
“The set of poems all feature dogs, a species much beloved by the poet; she writes of her canine companions with as much awe and reverence as she does other miraculous beasts and natural phenomena. They read as embodiments of the natural order, comprehending the cycle of life and death in ways no human can.”
“Dog Songs collects her most soul-stirring poems and short prose celebrating that special human-canine relationship and what it reveals about the meaning of our own lives — a beautiful manifestation of Oliver’s singular sieve for extracting from the particularities of the poetic subject the philosophical universalities of the human condition to illuminate what it means to live a good life, a full life, a life of purpose and presence.”
Bookish, The Houston Chronicle:
“The collection invites us to linger awhile in the pure happiness Oliver feels toward dogs, most notably, her beloved dog Percy… For Oliver, nature is our teacher and dogs some of the best professors.”
“Renowned for her love of nature, Ms. Oliver writes exquisite, lyrical poems that… remind the reader of how much there is to love in this world. Nowhere is this love more evident than in Oliver’s latest collection, Dog Songs… These poems will make you smile, laugh, cry and nod your head in delighted agreement.”