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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SLICE OF LIFE


I am a lover of books.
And bookstores.
And poetry.
And dogs.
And dogs that work.
It only makes sense, then, that I would love a book about a dog that works.
And that I would love an author visit by an author who wrote about his working dog.

On Saturday, I went to Tattered Cover.
I went specifically to find Naomi Shihab Nye's newest book. VOICES IN THE AIR.
I didn't find that, but on the way into the children's department, I passed by a book display.
HAVE DOG, WILL TRAVEL: A POET'S JOURNEY was on display.
And of course, because I love dogs,
especially working dogs,
and I love poetry,
and I love the stories of people's lives,
I had to have it.
I didn't buy it, though, that day.
I'm trying to curtail my book buying addiction
and actually read a few of the books I already own.
Instead I waited until yesterday.
I had been cooped up in the house all afternoon.
I decided I would attend Kuusisto's reading.
It was wonderful.
And of course I had to buy the book.

Kuusisto is a professor at Syracuse University.
He was born in Durham, New Hampshire, where I did my doctoral work.
He was legally blind at birth, but grew up being told by his sighted parents, that he should act like he could see. And so he did that, devising elaborate systems to help himself function in a seeing world. He went to college, and then to the Iowa Writing Workshop. He became a professor. It wasn't until he lost his job at 38, and didn't have any options for another one, that he decided that he would acknowledge his blindness, and get a guide dog to help him move through the world. He described the book as a love poem to Corky, his first dog.

Now he is on his fourth dog.
Kaitlyn is a four-year-old yellow lab.
She accompanied him last night.
She spent most of the time,
while he was talking and autographing,
curled up next to him on the rug, sound asleep.
Toward the end of his talk, he took off her harness,
so she could be a dog and just say hello to people.
She especially liked my coffee.

It was a delightful evening.
And then I came home
and stayed up until almost midnight reading the book.
I will finish it today.
There is nothing better, after all,
then books,
or books about dogs,
or books about working dogs,
written and read by a poet,
on a summer evening
in Denver.



6 comments:

Karen Filewych said...

Well, you've got me hooked! I'm adding that book to my summer reading list. Thank you for your playful review!

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I'm also hooked! I loved the last book I read that joined my TBR thanks to your review (The Newcomers), so I'm excited to get this one. Like you, I love poetry and dogs and working dogs, and the combination of all those things sounds delightful.

elsie said...

I love the way you crafted this and the repetition was spot on. What a find!

Ramona said...

I love that you didn't buy the book initially, but then decided to go to the reading. Of course, you had to buy it then. i had a good friend (beginning in 4th grade) who was blind. He taught all of us so much. He knew us by our footsteps and he identified mine at one of our high school reunions decades later. I'm curious - is this an adult read or a kid read?

Carol said...

This is an adult read, but a middle schooler or high schooler could easily read it. It's not hard, not long, and no adult content (or at least not yet, and I'm 2/3 of the way through).

jan godown annino said...

Breathless moment, Carol.
This post, the way you have told the story, is fantastic.
I shiver at moments - the book buying addiction, the wanting a book by Naomi Shihab Nye, the going to a reading, the bravery of a child without normal sight, the sense of being there in that moment with that poet, that dog & you. Appreciations for bringing this poet & book to my attention.