Here's our new dog, J. Alfred Prufrock, whom we recently rescued from the pound:
He's so prim and proper-looking that we felt he needed an English butler's sobriquet, so we settled on the famous character of T. S. Eliot's poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (one of the greatest poems in the language).
J. weighs all of fifteen pounds and is about 15" at the shoulder, a smallish dog. But he overcomes his height in the tall grass, where he likes to chase deer, by jumping in the air with his forelegs held back high above to see. He looks just like a deer when he runs; he literally prances. He lives for gophers and cats. I think his breed must have been meant to be ratters, or rodent police, as he likes to tear up small objects and digs industriously for gophers only to smell disappointment. I wonder what that smells like to a dog.
According to my research, the sheba inu, of which he is certainly a mix, dates back to the 4th century B.C. in Japan, and the breed was rescued by interbreeding three lines after WWII. It was originally raised to flush birds and perhaps hunt wild boar. J. shows an intense interest in birds and likes to chase cabbage moths, sometimes successfully pawing them to ground.
The breed is known to be dignified, bold, energetic and very clean. To see how much J. resembles a purebred, here's a picture of a purebred shiba:
I know there are cat people and dog people and people like my daughter, Keturah, who despise all furred things and prefers reptiles and amphibians. More discussion of our dog would be beyond the scope of my usual narrative. Let me say simply that he's a wonderful dog and I love him. He's stubborn but a pinch collar had him heeling so well I replaced it with a regular collar. He has definitely enlarged my happiness.
My hardback collection, "Unexpected Light" (new title due to the publisher), is slated for release 1/15/09. I hope to arrange a release party. Any close to Northern California should write me for an invite. It will be priced somewhere between $15 and $20, a reasonable amount for a perfect bound hardback with a jacket. I hope everyone who reads this blog will buy one, unless I've spoiled you by giving my poetry away for free. Even so, to have a nice volume in your hand and read a poet at leisure is a different kind of pleasure.
I'm excited about arranging readings and obtaining reviews from magazine editors who have published me. I hope to saturate the litnet with my ubiquitous omnipresence even more so than formerly. I won't go so far as spam or robocalls, but I do intend to do whatever it takes to make the book a success. And if it is not, well, it's only poetry.