Book Review: I Could Chew On This

I Could Chew On This And Other Poems By Dogs, by Francesco Marciuliano

Although the previous books [1] that I read from the author dealt with cats and this one deals with dogs, reading a book like this a familiar and enjoyable sort of experience.  Once you read a few books (especially books you happen to like) by an author, there is an ease that one feels because of a familiarity with their style and their approach, and this author is definitely a consistent one in seeking to present animals as much as possible from within their own head through empathy.  It takes a remarkable degree of empathy to create works from the point of view of other beings, and the fact that this author has undertaken this task so often suggests that this is not an unusual or one-off experience for the author but rather a consistent one.  Whether or not this is related to the author’s attempts at helping out his writing of comics it whether it springs from an enjoyment of various pets throughout his life and his own attempts to understand and relate to them, I am not sure of, but there is still a great deal to enjoy and appreciate here.

The poems about dogs included here are divided into four chapters:  “Inside,” “Outside,” “By Your Side,” and “Heavy Thinking.”  Here too, as one might expect, there is a lot of cute photos of dogs and thoughtful poetry that helps its readers (and no doubt its writer) empathize with dogs and their sometimes quirky behavior.  The poet explores how dogs lose their minds when their owners leave the house, how dogs watch their owners make love, how dogs hoard and what they learn from television.  Other poems explore boredom and the difficulty of opening doors, as well as the lies of happy relations between cat and dogs that make for holiday cards, and how dogs feel when they are unleashed.  There are poems about the way that owners scoop up poop and put them in bags, and how dogs feel sad about being tied up outside of the store, why dogs bite, what dogs are trying to do when they make others sniff their stinky breath.  There are poems about play, about the way dogs think every day is a good day, and about chasing rabbits and cars, as well as the way that dogs think things are in general very good for chewing.

As one might expect from a perusal of the author’s previous work, these poems provide a lot of reflective material from the point of view of dogs that can be useful in self-examination of oneself from the point of view of outsiders.  To what extent do people learn from us as a result of our culture?  What is the lasting result of trauma, whether one is dealing with being fixed as is the case of a dog, or whether one is dealing with the sort of trauma that human beings often inflict on each other as a result of violence?  How much are human beings, like dogs, creatures of amusing habits?  A dog may eat the exact same dinner for eight years, but many of us have eating habits that are hardly less regular ourselves.  I know that, for example, to be the case with me.  As is true in the best of poems of this kind, these poems can be enjoyed on multiple levels, as one can laugh at the oddity of dogs, but at the same time reflect on our own strangeness and what can make us subjects of humor or puzzlement for other people and even other beings.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to Book Review: I Could Chew On This

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Claw The System | Edge Induced Cohesion

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