Presenting engagements (including reviews) of poetry books & projects. Occasionally there will be Featured Poets, as well as offerings from "The Critic Writes Poems" series. Deadline is ongoing: reviews will be posted as submitted and accepted. Please engage!
Friday, June 16, 2017
GOD GOT A DOG by CYNTHIA RYLANT and MARLA FRAZEE
EILEEN TABIOS Engages
God got a dog with poems by Cynthia Rylant and illustrations by
(Beach Lane Books, New
York-New Delhi, 2003)
This charming book is the type to create new poetry
fans—accessible but with hidden depths, humorous, and gentle with its use of hints
versus didacticism as regards some substantive points the poems make about the
All of the poems are as endearing—some highlights are “God went to
beauty school,” “God got cable,” and “God got a cold.” It’s clear that Cynthia
Rylant’s story-telling abilities, for which her novels have received Newberry
awards, put themselves to good use in these poems.
Yet there’s a courageous depth throughout the work—a depth
that makes a “She” about the traditional “He” Christian God (“God got in a boat”),
inserts Buddha who obviously is from a non-Christian faith (“God woke up”—and do
note the light touch gleaned from the title and the “enlightenment” of Buddha),
and is generous about showing how God, despite being God, contains various
insecurities.Ironically, this depth may
fail to create fans despite the poems’ lighthearted approach, but that’s on the
reader(s)’s limited empathy, not the talents of the poet and illustrator.
God’s insecurities are laid out in more than one poem--they "humanize" (if you will) God in charming way.Here’s “God took
(click on images to enlarge)
Marla Frazee’s illustrations work well with the poems. I am
particularly appreciative with this coupling—poems face illustrations—of “God
got cable” with the illustration of God playing poker with the angel Gabriel.
While known as a novelist, Rylant also previously created the fabulous poetry-photograph collaboration, Something Permanent, with photographs by Walker Evans (Harcourt Brace, Hanover/London, 1994). This line of work, so to speak, is a nifty way to showcase her talents.
RECOMMENDED, and not just for Christian households.
Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea Resurrects. Her 2017 poetry releases include two books, two booklets and five poetry chaps. Forthcoming later this fall is a new poetry collection, MANHATTAN: An Archaeology (Paloma Press).She does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor, but she is pleased to point you elsewhere for a recent review of her work: Dina Paulson-McEwen reviews AMNESIA: Somebody's Memoir for WALK THE LINE!More info about her work at http://eileenrtabios.com