Song Dog of the Prairie
by Joann Klusmeyer
PageTurner Press and Media

"Of rugged stalk and prickly leaf,
the hardy Scottish Thistles grow
Seeds afloat on threads of gossamer
as the Highland breezes blow."

This book of poetry focuses on the pastoral and the author’s observations of life in the rural plains. One finds recollections of farmers and days gone by, such as in the section titled “Things I’ve Always Known About.” Observations about people and the natural world populate the section “Observations On Folks.” In addition, there are sections devoted to advice and encouragement, animals, plants, and many other things. The title poem, which opens the book, is one of the strongest pieces and gives the reader a good indication of what is included. Most of the pieces are written in stanzas with similar line counts, although there are a few prose poems. Most of the selections are arranged in couplets, either matched or alternating.

Klusmeyer’s poetry is easy to read and concrete, detail-oriented rather than abstract. The reader will find that the included works are more commentary about the natural world and the author’s nostalgia for a shrinking rural America than they are confessional or philosophical. Those interested in rhyming poetry based on the material world, particularly the outdoor world, will find this collection comfortable. Klusmeyer has an eye for the art of the natural world, as lines from her strongest pieces reflect: “There are sounds of gentle grazing and the rustle of dry leaves / And the piercing screams of hunting barn owl pairs.” A reader wanting to pick up a poetry book or read a poem or two while taking in the countryside will find this to be an apt title.

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