Pulitzer prize winning poet Mary Oliver's new book, Dog Songs, celebrates dogs.
The New York Times calls it "a sweet golden retriever of a book that curls up with the reader." Read the full review here.
Watch Mary Oliver read her poem "Little Dog's Rhapsody in the Night." I can't stop thinking about it...
Modern Dog Design Co., the Seattle-based, internationally acclaimed design studio is accepting submissions for 1000 Dog Portraits, a full-color, 320-page book slated for publication in the spring of 2014. Sections will include every breed, including mutts and oddballs, with an special introductory emphasis on Beagles. All mediums are accepted including pen and ink, watercolor, oil, charcoal, digital, mixed media or collage.
Rockport Publishers, a company that specializes in books for design professionals, is sponsoring the contest and will publish the book.
Click here to submit your dog portraits. Submission deadline: April 1, 2013, 10pm EST.
Hat tip to Patti Haskins (whose dog portrait graces the contest's Facebook page) and Rachel Petrovich for letting me know about this contest brought to you by "true dog lovers and people who love art, design and kick-ass illustration."
Susan Clute and Roxie by Michael Clute (who's called Jack when he's on his motorcycle)
Full disclosure, I wanted Susan Clute to win the book Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne.
Susan is my friend and neighbor. She has been knitting for over 50 years. She works at our local yarn shop, MeadowFarm Yarn Studio in Nevada City, California, where she teaches and connects with a talented group of fiber artists in our community. She owns a spinning wheel. She and her husband, Mike or Jack, give me heirloom zucchini seeds and taught me how to make pomegranate jelly. And, she has a gorgeous, brilliant, willful, funny Wirehaired Dachshund named Roxie.
Today is the 150th birthday of Edith Jones Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature for her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence. She was a prolific writer who averaged a volume a year for forty years. Her works include novels, novellas, short stories, ghost stories, an autobiography, literary criticism, poetry, plays, and translations, and they cover topics such as war, travel, landscape gardening, Italian architectural history, and interior decorating. But she is most well known for her juicy, insider novels about the New York society into which she was born. Today, her taste and insight are as popular as ever. Edith Wharton is on trend.
In a New York Times interview, Julian Fellowes, the creator of "Downton Abbey" cites Wharton as one of his influences for his wildly popular PBS series. And Bill Cunningham recently pointed out that rich Victorian-inspired silks are stealing the show on Paris's runways and made stellar appearances at the opening of the new addition to Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The details about dresses, Parisian designers, upholstery, window treatments, state-of-the-art gas fireplaces that Wharton wrote about with authority and sometimes cattiness make her novels a pleasure to read. If she was alive today, I am sure she would an über design blogger, a global taste-maker with a sharp tongue and a massive Twitter following. One of my favorite bits of trivia about her is that her family, specifically her Aunt Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, was "the Joneses" as in "Keeping up with the Joneses."
But my favorite thing about her is that she loved dogs. Throughout her life, she was often photographed with her pups. She gave to animal charities. And she helped establish the S.P.C.A. in its early days in the United States. One of my all-time favorite dog quotes is by her. It's one I think of often as I face my days without Darby, but it has never been so beautiful as when I saw it published as she wrote it, almost as a haiku...
My little old dog: A heart-beat At my feet.
The other bit of trivia I love about her, is that although she staged photos of herself working at her desk, she supposedly wrote in bed with her dogs, throwing the pages onto the floor. When I discovered that, I realized how she was able to be so prolific. I have been toying with a new theory about dogs giving humans the space to be artists (in the same way they gave them the space to plant crops and settle down and store fat and think new things with their bigger brains). I think Edith Wharton proves my theory. Dogs give you the permission to stay in bed and write, and the incentive to go outside and design your garden, and hang out with your friends on the terrace. I think Edith Wharton had a beautiful life (though in all honesty it was sometimes heartbreaking), not because she was born into wealth, but because she loved dogs.
Edith Wharton with Two Dogs, Newport, RI, 1889
Edith Wharton with Dogs on her Shoulders, Newport, RI, 1889
Unknown Dog on the Terrace at Edith Wharton's Home The Mount