by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Civilized Beasts, Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition, editor-in-chief Laura Govednik.
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, December 2015, trade paperback $8.99 (86 pages), Kindle $2.99.
This small, slim volume has four Editors and an Editor-In-Chief. Editor Jason Huitt (Lunostophiles) explains in his Foreword that poetry has an image problem; that it “is hard to sell to the masses.” (The other three Editors are Altivo Overo, Televassi, and George Squares.) I agree with his reason that it has a cultural stereotype of being ‘for the elite’. I would also say that it’s too short and plotless.
Civilized Beasts, 2015 Edition contains 55 poems by 33 authors. Most are a single page or less long. That makes Civilized Beasts best for reading in short bursts, a few poems at a time. The anthology is a charity for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “All proceeds from this anthology go towards the Wildlife Conservation Society.”
It is hard to get really “furry” in one page. Only a couple have what might be called a furry plot; notably “Two Thieves on a Bluff” by George Squares, and “Why the Coyote Is: A Legend I Mostly Made Up But Is Undeniably True” by David Andrew Cowan. Most poems are about the beauty of nature; wild animals fleetingly glimpsed, animals frozen at night by a car’s headlights, animals’ eyes glowing at night, and so on. There are several about “trickster coyote”, but almost all are about real coyotes:
“Brown and gray
Sand in a desert sunset
Golden eyes laughing at and with you
Here and gone”
from God’s Dog by BanWynn Oakshadow