Tuesday

Apr. 2, 2002

The Dog Inside Mine

by Alberto Rios

TUESDAY, 2 APRIL 2002
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "The Dog Inside Mine," by Alberto Rios from The Smallest Muscle in The Human Body (Copper Canyon Press).

The Dog Inside Mine

The dog barks
Or is barked
By something inside,
Some mechanism in him
Taking hold
Against his best efforts
At sleep
Or civility.

The dog barks
Or is barked
By the dogs inside
The dark of him,
The black in his eyes,
The depths of his mouth,
Something from in there,
The growl of all
His mothers,
Like a hand,
Rousing his throat
Into noise.

This noise takes notice.
Or something has taken notice
And this noise
Is its charm:

It is not this dog's ears that hear.
It is the centuries,
And they answer back.


It's the birthday of the poet Edward Dorn, born in Villa Grove, Illinois (1929). He studied with Charles Olson at the Black Mountain School, and taught and wrote all over the U.S. and England. He wrote about the American West, and about working people. His longest work was a poem called Gunslinger; the poem's hero had a talking horse called Claude Levi-Strauss. One of his last published essays was an account of the Clinton impeachment proceedings, as seen through the eyes of a man undergoing chemotherapy.

It's the birthday of J. C. Squires, born in Plymouth England (1884). He edited The New Statesman during World War I, and then started the journal The London Mercury, which ran from 1919 to 1939, and published all the best writers of the day.

It's the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen, born in Odense, Denmark (1805). Although he was most famous for his fairy tales, he never thought of himself as a children's writer. He wrote six novels, plays, poetry, and travel essays, many of which were at least as successful as the fairy tales. Although Europeans and Americans loved his work, he was scorned in his own country during his lifetime; Soren Kierkegaard once published a scathing essay about him. He never married, and when he became ill late in life, he went to live with a family on the coast near Copenhagen. He had breakfast in his room one morning, and was found in bed a little while later, dead, holding a love letter someone had written to him forty-five years earlier.

It's the birthday of the historian Catherine Macaulay, born in Wye, England (1731). She spent twenty years writing an eight-volume History of England, which said disparaging things about the monarchy, and drew criticism from conservatives.

It's the birthday of the Italian writer Giovanni Giacomo Casanova de Seingalt, born in Venice (1725). He spent the final years of his life as a librarian in a cold and drafty castle in Bohemia, and he set out to write his memoirs because, he said, it was "the sole remedy I believed I possessed to avoid going mad or dying of sorrow." He left four thousand pages of manuscript behind, some of which was later published under the title The Story of My Life.

It's the birthday of Charlemagne, born on this day in Ingelheim, Germany (742). He never learned to read or write, and he used a template to sign documents. Although he couldn't read, he admired scholars who could, and he brought as many as he could to his court. Up until that time, most schooling had been limited to the study of sacred texts. Charlemagne started schools that taught all kinds of worldly knowledge, and said that they should "make no difference between the sons of serfs and of freemen, so that they might come and sit on the same benches to study grammar, music and arithmetic." He tried to get all his subjects to speak the same form of early German, so they'd stop praying in mutually incomprehensible dialects.

(Instapaper)

-->

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Sharon Olds at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »