Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



BOOK REVIEW: Like Some Bookie God
by Yasmin Nair

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

As I read Yvonne Zipter's new chapbook of poems about her greyhounds, I remembered my response to the first such animal I ever met. Startled by its lean frame, I was convinced it was being starved to death. There's a dog-ness to most dogs, characterized as they are by a certain fluffiness and furriness. But greyhounds are not your usual breed of dogs.

For starters, they're among the most aerodynamically shaped animals, with impossibly lean bodies, willowy legs and curvy stomachs. Every feature, from the tapered snout to the slinky spine, is distilled for speed efficiency. A greyhound is a haiku of a dog.

Greyhounds are mostly used in racing; their careers only last for three to five years, after which they're either euthanized or adopted by a rescue group. Most greyhounds in households are adoptees, and the owners are often almost obsessively devoted to their animals.

Yvonne Zipter is in love with her greyhounds, and Like Some Bookie God is an unashamed series of paeans to the dogs who rule her life. I'll confess I expected a set of greeting card clichés about lovable pets, but found instead a set of masterfully written poems. Zipter's poetry has a tensile strength and an economy of scale, much like the dogs who allow her to wander around in their habitats with them. She's an accomplished poet, and these poems are both elegant and sparkling in their conciseness.

What makes them worthy of returning to is the slow revelation of the relationship between Zipter and the greyhounds who rule her home and life. These dogs aren't her pets; they are ethereal and lovely creatures whose gentleness and friendliness belie a certain reserve. Zipter is not their master but their humble devotee, fascinated by their bodies which seem to be in flight even as they stand still, enthralled by their ability to glide through the world without disturbing the air around them. They are spectral creatures that defy categorization. The greatest charm of Zipter's work is that she never loses her sense of humor, even as she contemplates them most seriously. 'In the Naming' has her wondering how to classify one of them: ''Dog' is too dense a word for him…He is,/ in a word, ethereal. Except/ for the click of his nails/ on the floor and the earthy way/ he licks himself. Maybe 'dog'/ will do after all.'

Zipter occasionally tries to discern the inner worlds of the dogs. In 'A Canine Metaphysics,' she wonders about one dog's perception of his self, '…he wants to run/ but ponders, it seems,/ how he will know/ he's a greyhound/ if I'm not there to see him.' Like Some Bookie God is also a subtle series of meditations on Zipter's—and the dogs'—relationship to the organic world around them. 'Ephemeral' contemplates animal life, including her own: she watches one dog leap in the air, 'like a fish hooked to a line, a whip/ of alarmed resolve;' hammers new boards on the porch, and considers a firefly, 'when all the world could see/ he is neither fairy nor falling star/ but only a homely beetle/ with a wondrous other self.'

Zipter and her dogs emerge as denizens of a world they inhabit sometimes to the exclusion of others, dreaming of dozing together like conspiratorial lovers. In 'Exhuming Eva,' the body of a long-dead animal is dug up and her owner rearranges the bones in her studio, comforted by finding a piece of fur that escaped decay and '…familiar/ as Eva's weight against my leg/ or mourning's sharp punch/ to the heart.' None of this is cloyingly sentimental or awestruck. Zipter's intense attachment to the animals never descends into humdrum worshipfulness. Like Some Bookie God isn't about the universal love between person and dog. It's about one woman's very particular relationship to some very unique animals whose dogness she relays to the rest of us who can only stand outside their world and watch.

Yvonne Zipter will be reading from her poems at Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark, on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. She will be joined by the poets Adrienne Miller and Anne-Marie Oomen as part of Poetry Night.

Contact Yasmin Nair at .

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


NATIONAL Lambda Litfest, #BiWeek, whistleblower, Equality Awards, Blade 2020-09-21
MOMBIAN True stories, trans tales and more in new picture books 2020-09-16
Gerber/Hart reveals future plans 2020-09-16
Submissions sought for Lambda Literary Awards 2020-09-10
NATIONAL Marsha P. Johnson, Anchorage, electoral items, gay author dies 2020-09-02
E. Patrick Johnson's 'Sweet Tea' book released 2020-08-25
New psychology handbook focuses on sexual, gender minority mental health 2020-08-23
Nigerian LGBTQ+ refugee-turned-activist on importance of compassion 2020-08-19
Trans advocate Jamison Green talks about increasing visibility 2020-08-19
DANK Haus hosts 'Gay Berlin' forum with author 2020-08-19
Ally opens Diverse Little Free Library in Norridge 2020-08-19
BOOK REVIEW Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw 2020-08-18
'One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives' Aug. 18 2020-08-13
Gerber/Hart fall benefit Sept. 12-13 2020-08-08
NATIONAL Anti-trans killings, surveys, 'Trans Care' book, gay-bar news 2020-08-05
BOOKS Yvonne Zipter: Looking at Chicagoan's life, poetry collection 2020-08-05
BOOKS In fashion: Jay Manuel dishes on 'The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown' 2020-08-04
Wizard World postponed until June 24-27, 2021 2020-07-29
NUNN ON ONE TV: Ashley Romans bites into juicy role on AMC series 'NOS4A2' 2020-07-26
Five Worth Finding: Bill T. Jones book, Music Box thriller and more 2020-07-22
VIEWPOINTS 'All Boys Aren't Blue' is the audacious memoir of a Black queer man 2020-07-22
BOOK REVIEW Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man 2020-07-21
BOOKS Local activist Wanda B. tells her life story in 'Leader by Fault' 2020-07-17
NUNN ON ONE PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Bussian focuses on New York's trans community 2020-07-08
BOOKS Joey Skladany entertains, instructs in 'Basic Bitchen' 2020-06-28
Printers Row Lit Fest officially cancelled 2020-06-25
Library board president leaves post over anti-LGBTQ statements 2020-06-24
BOOKS Skokie native writes about creating an LGBTQ family 2020-06-24
BOOKS Photographer focuses on 'The People of the Pride Parade' 2020-06-23
Library board president criticized for anti-LGBTQ speech 2020-06-17
Gerber/Hart celebrates Hot Wire: The Journal of Women's Music and Culture 2020-06-10
Spyners Pub owner posts racist screed on Facebook, apologizes later 2020-06-03
BAMtheatre starting virtual classes 2020-05-26
BOOK REVIEW Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane 2020-05-25
PASSAGES H.G. Carrillo, author 2020-05-18
Gerber/Hart Library hosts virtual panel on The 10% Show 2020-05-16
Comedian Cameron Esposito's new memoir digs into queer liberation, Catholic upbringing 2020-05-12
BOOKS New book explores life of astronomer-turned-activist Kameny 2020-05-12
Autobiography reflects on heyday of Chicago LGBT media 2020-04-29
BOOKS Jen Manion talks 'Female Husbands' and writing process 2020-04-15

Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.