The spring 2012 issue of Tar River Poetry arrived in my mailbox, with two poems of mine: “Vacationland” and “After Making a Wrong Turn I Become Stubborn and Pretend to Know These Barns.” My husband and I sat down with copies and started noticing a trend: all of the poems have animals in them of the non-human sort (mine include mosquitoes and cows, consecutively). There are lots of dogs, a catfish, some beavers, oxen, birds. Some poems are loaded with animals: snakes, turtles, fish, tadpoles. Some are being eaten (veal calves), some are in motion. We did eventually find one or two without animals, but for the most part: how we lean on them. How their companionship or wildness or source of food gives us strength.
I wish I could share some of these excellent poems with you, but since TPR is print-only, I’ll just list a few I liked on the off-chance that the writers will google their own names. (Hey. Doesn’t everybody?) I was especially pleased by Douglas Goetsch’s “The Veldt,” Christopher Citro’s “(This Town Is) Barely Managing to Hold It Together,” and Dave Nielsen’s “Walking My Dog Late at Night I Pass the Hay Funeral Home & Cremation Center as the Snow Turns to Ashes.” Whew. Long title there, Dave, but totally worth the effort of typing it in. Hey, I’d tweet you all if, you know, I tweeted.