What does it mean for a poet to love a dog—especially knowing it will never outlive them? The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry catapults readers into the marrows of living and feeling alongside our mysterious canines: a species that often teaches us what it means to be human. These selections interrogate our lives as they’ve intertwined with humanity’s most beloved house companion. What catalyzes our hunger to share our vulnerabilities and lived realities with these curious, interdependent animals?
Writers, including Chen Chen, Noah Baldino, Hanif Abdurraqib, Carly Joy Miller, Maggie Smith, and Raena Shirali, among others, grapple with the simultaneous heaviness, happiness, love, and loss that comes with dog companionship, exposing deep truths about what it means to share space with our fellow non-humans. This collection examines both the routine and the unexpected lives this anthology’s poets have built with their dogs, exploring wildness and domestication, boundaries and freedom, rescue and grief through works centered on the complicated, expansive writer-to-canine connection.
Ruth Awad is the Lebanese-American author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio, with her four bratty and joyous Pomeranians.
Rachel Mennies is the author of The Naomi Letters, forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2021 and The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards, the 2014 winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry and finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. Her poetry has appeared at The Believer, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, and her nonfiction has appeared at The Millions, The Poetry Foundation, and LitHub, among other outlets. Mennies serves as the reviews editor for AGNI. She lives in Chicago, where she works as a freelance editor and writer, with her spouse and her rescue greyhound mix, Otto.