Poet Mark Doty loves dogs. I love dogs. Hearing Doty’s poems about his dogs made me love poetry.

I never thought a Golden Retriever would lead me anywhere literary. My own Golden

Jake and pals.

Retriever, Jake, has led me a lot of places—swamps, the neighbors’ back yard after he ate all the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at their daughter’s birthday party, wading in lakes after balls that he refused to retrieve…. never to poems.  But Mark Doty’s Golden, Beau, opened my eyes to the potential of reading poetry, and just in time for National Poetry Month.

Doty appeared at the Hennepin County (MN) Library Foundation’s Pen Pals series last week. He’s funny, entertaining, insightful, and has a beautiful voice, which makes me think that poetry is best read aloud, by the poet—so intimate.  He writes about many other things, but he got me with the dogs.  Of course, even those poems are about more than canines; they’re about aging, joy, love, living in the moment.

After I finished blowing my nose and blotting my eyes in the back of the auditorium, I told Doty I’m a convert. Check out his poem Golden Retrievals on the Poetry Foundation’s Web site.

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?


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