Dogs  Poems by Rennie McQuilkin and Drawings by Don Nace

picture of Rennie McQuilkin and Wizard
Photo by Hunter Neal, Jr.  

The dogs of DOGS sing many "Songs of Myself." Rennie McQuilkin’s poems are by turns witty, sad, joyful, angry, and moving. There are as many moods as there are dogs. And what a dandy love affair in the midst of it all! Each dog-poem is accompanied by one of Don Nace’s whimsical and spot-on drawings. But are these truly dogs, or all of us in disguise?

Rennie McQuilkin is the Poet Laureate of Connecticut. His poetry has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry, and The American Scholar.  He is the author of fifteen poetry collections, some of which have won major awards. McQuilkin has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and for many years he directed the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, which he co-founded at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT. In 2003 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Center for the Book, and in 2010 his book The Weathering won the CT Book Award in Poetry. He lives in Simsbury, CT, where he is the local poet laureate.

  Dogs cover image
  Drawing by Don Nace.

Don Nace’s art has appeared in The Quarterly and Antaeus. He has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, advertising art director, and factory worker. Nace recently retired from a long career as a scenic painter and designer for movies and theater in New York City. His artwork has appeared in a number of films ranging from “Fatal Attraction” (see Glenn Close’s phone-side doodlings) to the 2004 re-make of “The Manchurian Candidate” (graffiti on the boarding house walls of Jeffrey Wright’s shell-shocked madman). More recently he has worked with Julie Taymor on a production of “Across the Universe.” In 2005 Nace’s first book, a “life in drawings” entitled Drawn Out, was published by Soft Skull Press. “Set in peculiarly American landscapes, Drawn Out is by turns brilliantly funny, deeply soulful, and quietly tragic.” Don Nace lives in New York City. To view more of his work, visit www.donnacecom.

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ISBN 978-1-943826-38-4

First Edition 2017

5.5" x 8.5" paperback, 78 pages

This book can be ordered from all bookstores, including Amazon.



Copyright © 2017 by Rennie McQuilkin



I refuse to be a toy mastiff!
I’m the real thing
and I spend my time proving it.
I leap when you’re not looking,

I bite your toes,
nibble your long, unwrinkled nose.
And when I’m through, I snore
through my indented schnozz.

I am entitled, being the darling
of the courts of Tang and Ming.

And who could be annoyed?
How curled my tail, twice curled,
how soft my pelt, how wide
my round and limpid eyes

leaping out of my cranium!
Put a stogie in my mouth, I’ll win
the Battle of Britain.

Drawing by Don Nace