George Kalamaras, What My Hound Dog Is Scenting Through the Sloughgrass Is a Way of Scenting Me

Wolfson Press

ISBN 978-1950066087
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What My Hound Dog Is Scenting Through the Sloughgrass Is a Way of Scenting Me
by George Kalamaras
paperback, 118 pages

This lively new collection of poetry by George Kalamaras, former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014-2016), is an intimate appreciation of hound dogs of all breeds and a Whitmanesque celebration of American life—our companionship with dogs and our attraction to wilderness, adventure, and contemplation. This gritty, swampy, woodsy volume attends to sensuous details. In his inimitable way, Kalamaras discovers in the backwoods of the American imagination enormous resources for spiritual sustenance. Hound dogs with their "whuffling" muzzles lead us to the places where we may realize our deepest human and animal purposes.


George Kalamaras follows the hound of his imagination through a landscape as American as Kankakee and Loosahatchie, scenting out Whitman and Lorca in a single poem and finding them both vital and belonging together. His exuberant intelligence is on fine display in work which, as Valéry maintained, becomes the subject it both loves and creates. The entire collection can be seen as an extended ars poetica, letting us see the map and the means by which the poems find their way to the inevitable conclusions they, and we, could not have foreseen. In this sense, Kalamaras is also a shaman, and clearly a master of hounds. In their own words, these poems will make you “love the way love can love / the act of loving.”
Dan Gerber, author of Particles: New & Selected Poems

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau writes, “I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travellers I have spoken [to] concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who had heard the hound.” I know this: poet George Kalamaras has found the hound. The bawl-mouthed hounds that inhabit these poems lead the poet and the poems deep into the physical woods and wetlands of the world, down the path into the world of the spirit, discovering all that must be bowed down to, and fully into the world of the self—the self as hound dog, as houndself, and as poet on an essential hunt that, like a poem, may never be finished but increasingly honors the luminous everything.
Veronica Patterson, author of Swan, What Shores?

About the Author

George Kalamaras, former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014–2016), is Professor Emeritus of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he taught for thirty-two years. He is the author of twenty-three collections of poetry—fourteen full-length books and nine chapbooks—as well as a critical study on Western language theory and the Eastern wisdom traditions, Reclaiming the Tacit Dimension: Symbolic Form in the Rhetoric of Silence (State University of New York Press, 1994). He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1993) and two Individual Artist Fellowships from the Indiana Arts Commission (2001 and 2011). During 1994, he spent several months in India on an Indo-U.S. Advanced Research Fellowship. In addition to his publications in the United States, his poems have appeared in print journals in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America and have been translated into Bengali and Spanish. George and his wife, writer Mary Ann Cain, have nurtured beagles in their home for nearly thirty years, first Barney, then Bootsie, and now Blaisie. George, Mary Ann, and Blaisie divide their time between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Livermore, Colorado, in the mountains north of Fort Collins. 

(Author portrait by Jim Whitcraft)