Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review: Throw the Damn Ball (poetry, dogs)

Throw the Damn Ball: Classic Poetry by Dogs, by R. Rosen, Harry Prichett, and Rob Battles (Penguin Publishing, 2013, 117 pages, $15)

One hundred twelve original poems by(?), for  and about dogs, if I counted correctly. And the same number of dog photos, mostly dressed to the nines. (Hmmm, that’s how many lives cats have. I wonder if there is a correlation there?)

I once paraphrased Hamlet’s entire soliloquy to reflect cramming for a human anatomy and physiology exam and went on to rewrite much of Robert Frost in the same manner. If that intrigues you, Throw the Damn Ball will also entertain you and very cleverly so.

Throw is a book for a couple of underrepresented segments of our society: teenaged boys and English majors. The former for the liberal scatological references and the latter, for the fractured poetry (at least some opening lines) by famous poets, all members of POEM (the Professional Organization of English Majors) like the aforementioned Frost, the ubiquitous Emily Dickinson, along with Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams (don’t you just love people with same first names as last names?), the departed John Dunne, Allen Ginsberg, Joyce Kilmer, and, yes, even Helen Reddy, among others.

Pee, Poop and Flatulence

What are dogs interested in? Pee and food. Some study poop while humans are embarrassed by both, as well as flatulence. Therefore, this book. And, since two of the authors have been on NPR (National Public Radio), I would not be surprised to hear one or more of these classic canine poems on air.

Perhaps a milder one like “I think that I shall never see
“A poem as lovely as a half-eaten sandwich
That’s been on the sidewalk for hours,
Absorbing a rainbow of footwear odors, . . . .”

(Disclaimer: This was a First Reads book for GoodReads.)

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