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Civilized Beasts Poetry Anthology, volume II – book review by Fred Patten.


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Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

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Civilized Beasts, Poetry Anthology, volume II, editor-in-chief Laura Govednik. Foreword by Jonathan Thurston Howl.
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, August 2017, trade paperback, $8.00 (126 pages).

Well, this is a bargain. The 2015 Edition, volume I, was $8.99 for only 86 pages. This is only $8.00 for 126 pages. Let’s hope this trend continues.

This poetry anthology contains 84 poems of mostly one page or less. Several authors have two or more poems. There are many familiar furry fan names among the poets: Makyo, BanWynn Oakshadow, Thurston Howl, Televassi, Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, Thomas “Faux” Steele, Altivo Otero, Searska GreyRaven, Dwale, and Frances Pauli, among others. It is another charity for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “All proceeds from this anthology go towards the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

The poetry ranges from classic couplets to scintillating stanzas; from imaginative iambic pentameters to sparkling sonnets; from fantasy free verse to honorable haiku. (But do “rules” and “school” really rhyme?) The poems are divided by animal species: “The Carnival of Canids”, “The Festival of Felines”, “The Bolero of the Beasts”, “The Rally of the Rodents (and Rabbits)”, “The Aria of the Avians”, “The Circus of the Scales and Fins”, “The Interlude of the Insects and Arachnids”, and “The Menagerie’s March”.

As with the first volume, these are mostly not poems about anthropomorphized animals. They are more about the beauties of nature, or the probable thoughts of real dogs, cats, horses, deer, and others. In fact, only one is clearly about an anthropomorphic animal: “The Natural Order Disordered” by J. J. Steinfeld.

“What more evidence do you need?”

the well-groomed articulate fox says

to the slovenly tongue-tied hunter

with the newly-purchased rifle.

[excerpt]

Except for featuring a fox rather than a rabbit, it reminds me of an old Warner Bros. cartoon.

Anyhow, whether the animals – that’s any beast that isn’t a vegetable or a mineral – are anthropomorphized or not, for only $8.00, how can you go wrong? The cover by Darkomi is worth $8.00 by itself. And it’s for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Buy copies to send to your relatives and friends (like my sister did).

Full disclosure: I have two poems in this.

– Fred Patten

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