April is both National Poetry Month AND National Pet Month. What better way to celebrate than with poetry about dogs, for dogs, and by dogs. Check out the Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation for great poems and inspiration.
Eating Poetry by Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
by Mary Oliver
Our new dog, named for the beloved poet,
ate a book which unfortunately we had
Fortunately it was the Bhagavad Gita,
of which many copies are available.
Every day now, as Percy grows
into the beauty of his life, we touch
his wild, curly head and say,
“Oh, wisest of little dogs.”
by Andrew Clements
Nose out the window,
ears flapping, hair pushed straight back.
adventures in smell.
by Maya Gottfried
You aren’t forgetting about dinner,
I know you were walking toward the door,
but you wouldn’t leave without feeding me,
There’s a bag of food on the kitchen counter.
I could feed myself, you know, if you kept it on
Little Dog Poems
by Kristine O’Connell George
Little Dog wants
to see what is
going on outside
I move a chair
to the front window,
so Little Dog
Once I Ate a Pie
by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest
I am not thin, but I am beautiful.
When no one is looking, I steal tubs of butter off
I take them to the basement to eat in private.
Once I ate a PIE.
Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs
edited by Amy Hempel and Jim Shepard
Birch by Karen Shepard
You gonna eat that?
You gonna eat that?
You gonna eat that?
I’ll eat that.
Other great dog poetry titles include:
Back to Dog-gone School by Amy Schmidt
an “easy reader” book of poems and photographs
Dogfight by Calvin Trillan
The 2012 presidential campaign in verse
Hound Dog’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen
Simple poems illustrate interesting facts about twenty dog breeds
I Could Chew on This by Francesco Marciuliano
Canine laureates reveal their creativity, their hidden motives, and their eternal (and sometimes misguided) effervescence through poetry. Available as an eBook through Hoopla
It’s About Dogs by Tony Johnston
Forty-three utterly irresistible poems and paintings revealing the very essence of dog
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
A young boy finds his “poetic voice” with the help of a teacher, a pencil, some yellow paper, and of course, a dog
My Dog May be a Genius by Jack Prelutsky
An irresistible collection of poems that will have tongues twisting, imaginations soaring, and sides aching with laughter
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
A graphic novel in free verse, available as an eBook through Hoopla
Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield
Thinker (puppy) and Joe (his person) are both poets, and together they turn the world around them into verse
Of course, if poetry isn’t your style, check out some booklists featuring fiction and nonfiction titles about dogs:
Going to the Dogs
a fiction sampler featuring “man’s best friend”
Good Good Dog
nonfiction titles about companionship, love, and loss
NO NO BAD DOG
training for you and your good good dog
dogs with jobs – all sorts of jobs
Check out our Online Resources page for access to digital books, movies, music, magazines and so much more. You will need your Richmond Public Library card to access this premium content. Don’t have a library card? Visit the Get a Card page for more information.
Stuck in a reading rut? Looking to read outside your comfort zone? If you want hand-crafted reading suggestions, check out The Bookologist – a bespoke readers advisory service for adults, teens, and kids.