There’s something about Brooklyn that inspires creativity. The borough’s history, people and neighborhoods have been the focus of countless films, books, and the arts. Most recently, Brooklyn’s dogs have served as muse for Susie DeFord, author of Dogs of Brooklyn. In her book, Susie shares a poetic narrative of her colorful life as a dog walker in Brooklyn.
The book is divided into two parts: The Circus is in Town, which captures the essence of the Brooklyn neighborhoods Deford calls home and The Dogs of Brooklyn, which pays homage to the fabulous dogs that make up her world. Susie’s prose captures the mood at Acme Pet Shop on Vanderbilt Avenue (Prospect Heights Pop), wittily describes a dog in heat (Comet in Love), and makes you want to take one of her epic walks encompassing Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and the Brooklyn Bridge (East River Walk-Talk). Great photographs by Dennis Riley help capture time and place.
Susie first reached out to me when the book was published last spring and I regret not reading it sooner. As a dog lover with an appreciation for Brooklyn, I savored the writing and lingered over the photos. I read the e-book version but it’s definitely a book meant to be enjoyed in paper form. Be sure to pick up your own copy and check out Susie’s blog, Dog Poet Laureate. For more dog-themed reads, visit A Brooklyn Dog’s Life Pinterest Board.
Enjoy an excerpt from Dogs of Brooklyn:
SEARCHING FOR WHITMAN’S BEARD
Brooklyn’s sidewalks are covered with yellow leaves
and squashed stinky Ginko seeds from the “vomit trees.”
Another day spent searching for Whitman’s beard
on barren streets or a bit of his pen and ink inside me.
Four o’ clock on the corner of Washington and Sterling, they’re clanking the metal shutters down at Tom’s
Restaurant, no more cherry-lime rickeys and smiling waiters handing out sugar cookies. The sun is dropping
behind the old buildings; I’ve already been out walking four hours—hungry, feet ache, shivering. With icicle fingers
I stroke Maggie, she keeps her eyes on the cars whooshing by until I stop petting, pocketing my hands for warming.
She flips her nose up, an upside-down possum peering
at me insisting my hurting hands will be warmer scratching
in her tangles of thick black fur. But I am ice, I pity-sing, no one will read my words, I am nothing for the game
playing. Maggie grunts and groans impatiently back at me. She pulls to sniff bare trees, soon again come green leaves.