Reading Berryman to the Dog
Reading Berryman to the Dog
by Wendy Taylor Carlisle


ISBN 1-884516-05-X

The poems of Wendy Taylor Carlisle are vibrant, original, intelligent, tough, funny and sharp as a first time blade. I admire them utterly. They do not contain a single extra word. They have the power to transport, to remind, in all the best sense of that word, re-mind to uplift and enlarge the mental faculties to a finer degree of sensibility. As a fellow Texan, I appreciate the heat and summer here. That’s one lucky dog.

— Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye is a prolific and prize-winning writer. Her most recent books are Fuel and What Have You Lost.

Reading Berryman to the Dog is a spectacular collection. These poems are fresh and fierce and consistently splendid in syntax, image, and emotional range. Be forewarned, however. As a a reader exposed to Wendy Carlisle’s alternately haunting and edgy associative trajectories, be prepared to be rode hard and put away wet as you undertake a breakneck journey through the unforgiving terrain of loss, betrayal, and bittersweet longing. There is a fiery resonance, an urgency, a wild and maverick impertinence in these poems that is downright addictive.

— Calder Lowe
Executive editor of the award winning Montserrat Review

Wendy Taylor Carlisle’s poetry manages to combine whimsicality with a straight shot to the gut. Brutally honest without being brutal, she ranges effortlessly from free verse to form, from retelling old myths and fairytales to analyzing the emotions brought on by the death of a close friend. Often amusing, always affecting, Reading Berryman to the Dog is a fine first collection. May we see many more.

— Margo Solod
Margo Solod is a poet, restaurant owner and chef. Her books include Still Life With Trucks and Outside the Kremlin.

This is a hot book that invites the reader back for loving with a slow hand. I like its combination of the visceral and the smart. The frequent emphasis on the human body is appropriate, as the body of each poem is strong, substantial, with its dense and rich texture, its local pleasures. Reading Berryman to the Dog is consistent, all of a piece tonally, texturally. There’s a certain integrity about the whole while the poems keep pushing into new territory, they don’t stop and cultivate a garden or consolidate gains, they’re hungry.

— Philip Dacey
Philip Dacey is the co-editor of Strong Measures. His most recent books of poetry are The Deathbed Playboy and The Paramour of the Moving Air, both published in 1999.