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David Ladinsky reading his poetry from his book, Darling, I Love you: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts, and All Our Animal Friends

Can you imagine!

Backpackerbill Indoors — at a poetry reading!

Blame it on my love of Stanzi, our year-old poodle.

But then, I’ll also be at another poetry reading in couple of days with which Stanzi had nothing to do.


At yesterday’s the poet, Daniel Ladinsky, read from his book —

 Darling, I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends.


Well of course, with a title like that who’d want to miss it?

And here is where my wife and I disagree – she was disappointed that the book is not enough about dogs and I pleased that it is more about spirituality.

So I suggest that every spiritual dog lover, like me, will want to own a copy once they have a peek inside. But both ought to decide after taking a look.


The book has me stumbling for words to attribute its creative genius.

Its author is a world-famous poet and its illustrator equally world-famous, as the creator of the comic cartoon, MUTT, appearing in 700 newspapers in 20 countries.

Each is equally deserving of credit for their creativity.

But it was the publisher’s editor who was astute enough to bring these two together in collaboration — poet Daniel Ladinsky and illustrator Patrick McDonnell — to bring out the tenderness of this little treasure.

The whisper of the book’s spiritual content would be thinned by taking either the poetry or the illustrations, one without the other.

Ladinsky seems to know this, that reading his verses aloud does little justice to them compared to their appearance with the illustrations in the book.  So while he read a few, he spent most of his time speaking of his spiritual idol, the Persian mystic, Hafiz, and reading many of his verses.

Ladinsky studied the basic spirituality that pervades the main religions for six years in an East Indian Ashram. So taken was he with the thirteenth century Sufi mystic, Hafiz, Ladinsky wrote several books about Hafiz along with his renderings of a lush assortment of the Sufi’s poetry.

Since Ladinsky does not know the Persian language, he based his “renderings” of Hafiz’ poetry on an 1891 English translation of The Divan of Hafez by Henry Wilberforce-Clarke.

So with his readings from Darling, I Love You, he added a special warmth to the event by having several of the attendees each read the special Hafiz verses given for their birth dates from his NY Times best-selling title, A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations.

As my wife, Joy, says, the messages are so worthy in Darling, I Love You, is best read one or two verses a day, then allowing yourself to live with them for the day so as to allow their spiritual content become imbued in your heart.

I’ve given some urls in this post to make it easy to quickly find the sites.  On some of them I earn a few pennies toward offsetting the costs of running my blog, but only if you buy the item from that site.

I might add that by clicking on the Darling, I Love You title it will take you to the Amazon site, which gives you an opportunity to”thumb through” some pages of the book. You can get a better feel for the way the poetry and illustrations enhance each other.  Of course, you need not buy the book, or at least not from that provider.

And Then, There Are Other Poetry Readings 

Okay so Backpackerbill admits he went to a poetry reading. And now he has to further confess he and his wife, Joy, are heading to another reading Thursday.

Our good friend, Joan Ryan, is giving a reading and book signing of her new volume of poems. She wants them to be a surprise. So we haven’t read them yet, but expect they’ll be just as sharp and intellectual as Joan herself.

Joan and her husband, Tom, are folks we got to know on one of our favorite hiking trails.  They have a beautiful rescue dog named Chewy, who has already become friends with our dog, Stanzi.

The reading will be at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house here in Taos.  We’re looking forward to it. I hope I am not becoming a poetry reading junky! Though I have been looking forward to Joan’s reading ever since Joan let us in on it.

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