Prolific poet Mary Oliver has always displayed an unabashed love for animals and a special talent for pondering affection, beauty, and grief through the world’s smallest creatures. Her recently published poetry collection, Dog Songs, honors the canine companions that have brightened her life and work.
Oliver praises dogs for their loyalty, playfulness, and “steadfastness”; she laughs at them and mourns for them. She even imagines what they might say to her in human language. “Love and company are the adornments/that change everything,” one of her dogs ‘says’—a simple line that carries much wisdom. Ultimately, this collection is about affection beyond words—and without conditions. You do not have to be a pet owner to appreciate Dog Songs as a unique and moving portrait of how our relationship with animals can remind us, as Oliver says, “how rich it is to love the world.” (Review originally published in The Banner)