I have long been a fan of Jim Dodge. He is a simply wonderful writer if not the most prolific. I first came across his writing when I picked up his book 'Stone Junction' in a 2nd hand bookshop. I loved it - it is an awesome tale of one young man's existence and the existence of the universe at the same time. It includes some wonderful characters and is one long, very grand adventure.
The next step in my love affair with his writing came when I found his little book FUP. It's about a duck, a man and his grandaddyy. It is the most perfect book I have ever read (and I've read a lot!). I get the sense that it is short because Jim Dodge knew exactly when to stop writing.
I read an interview with Jim Dodge and he called himself a Taoist-Dirt-Pagan. I like that.
I have now just acquired his book of poetry 'Rain on the River.' It is, once again, beautiful. Mr. Dodge has not previously published his poems in a full book, having kept to the old format of publishing shorter 'chap-books' and releasing them locally as part of his modest goal to become "famous for a hundred miles." In this age of global media coverage it strikes me that it might even be harder to be famous only for that hundred miles! I guess I'm not doing him any favours spreading word of him in the UK!
Anyway, I thought I'd share with you my favourite poem so far, in the hopes you will feel inspired to investigate this man's gorgeous writing. Fup is probably the best place to start, but you can't go far wrong.
Love Find - By Jim Dodge
After the Oklahoma City bombing
were flown in with their handlers
from all over the U.S.
But when the dogs couldn't find
they became disconsolate,
and after another day of nothing
but dead bodies,
if they'd even search
it was desultory at best.
So the handlers began taking turns
hiding in the rubble,
letting the dogs find them alive.