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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

Editor: Matthew Sweeney

 

 

Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan

 

 

Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition

 

 

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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes

 

 

 

 

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VALERIE TRUEBLOOD

 

 

 

Valerie Trueblood

Valerie Trueblood grew up in rural Virginia and now lives in Seattle. In 2006 her first novel, Seven Loves (Little, Brown) was a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" pick. Her short stories have appeared in various journals including One Story, The Northwest Review, The Saturday Evening Post and Narrative. In 2011 her collection Marry or Burn was a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. "Trueblood has earned a place next to Alice Munro on my shelf of fiction" - Alicia Ostriker


Photo © John Minihan

 

 

 

Dogs of War and Peace

 

 

 

When the house began to smolder, a dog in our city awakened the family, nosed them from their beds, and barked them all out of the house moments before the staircase caught. A year later, the paper sent a reporter out to interview the family in their new house. Where was the dog? “We had to get rid of him. He peed in the house, he growled at everybody. He was old.”

On the field of the battle of Marengo, where almost fifteen thousand lay still or writhing, Napoleon came upon a dog killed in the act of licking his dead master’s face. “It was the most moving scene of battle I have ever witnessed,” Napoleon said.

One of his generals told a story of a dog, a Great Dane, taken to war by a French officer who was persuaded to defect to the Russians. The dog didn’t know the difference, one uniform worn by his master being the same to him as another. After the battle of Dresden, the dog was captured as he raced up and down the streets of a village in search of his master, who had been carried off the field to have both legs amputated and meet his death. Some time later, the Russians sent an envoy to the village to claim the dog. They didn’t want him left in the hands of his French captors, when his master had so firmly chosen Russia over France. His big studded collar lies in a glass case in a Dresden museum.

The great Saadat Hasan Manto wrote a story, “The Dog of Tithwal,” in which the two sides send a dog back and forth carrying messages until finally both sides decide the dog is a traitor and begin firing on it.

Perhaps it is merely a dictum of stories that the dog will outshine the humans. Up to a point his nature is malleable—for that is what our kind must have discovered early, hidden in the wild animal, that and his virtues of unswerving loyalty and courage, and the suggestion in the hopeful canine smile that these things may be put at the service of the human will. Once his devotion is established, he will serve forever.

Queen Victoria bestowed a medal on a dog named Bobbie for his (or her, the records vary) bravery in Afghanistan. This was when the British were fighting what they called the Second Afghan War. Bobbie survived the Battle of Maiwand and returned to England, where a cab ran over him.

In Afghanistan in recent times, two hundred forty-four dogs, in the United Nations Mine Dog Program, were sniffing for mines.

Sometime during the Vietnam War, dogs were designated “equipment”, and when the troops went home, dogs who had been the happy possessors of masters whose voices could stop them in mid-leap, and for whose scent they knew to search without ceasing—dogs in the hundreds remained behind as strays or food.

In World War II, Americans put their dogs in the back seat and drove them to centers to be donated to the Quartermaster General, to be trained in what became known as the K-9 Corps. Those dogs, the ones that survived, came back with the GIs to their proud owners by ship, heroes.

 

©2012 Valerie Trueblood

 

Author Links

 

Valerie Trueblood homepage

Trueblood's essay for APR, 'What's the Story?

Nuala Ní Chonchúir on Valerie Trueblood's Marry Or Burn

 

 

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