Toby Barlow's Poetic Responses About Sharp Teeth

           Sharp1    Selecttoby2_6           

Toby Barlow has converted many with Sharp Teeth, his "werewolf" novel in poem form, published in January. It's been getting great reviews and I can report happily that, despite not being fond of either werewolves or long poems, the result is not only delightful but exciting, intense, oddly tender, and complex. To get more insight into Barlow's book, I interviewed him via email. (I have already received a special pardon from the International Council of Real Poets for my questions...)
There once was a man from Detroit
Who found he was quite adroit
At writing with poetical pen
About territorial wolf men.

What? No vampires or witches,
Ghosts, ghouls, or liches?"
I asked with a fanged and carious smile.
His reply? "Wolves haven't been done for awhile."

Toby Barlow:
Seems like every era has its beasts,
Reagan's unnatural youth
and that dark 80's culture of cocaine
gave birth to the Orlean's vampires of Anne Rice.
But here in this new century,
as we begin seeing things heading south
and as the seams in our civilization
become slowly unstitched,
the vibe is getting a little more feral, a little wild,
and people are starting to look 'round for the pack
they can curl up
and keep warm with.
These seem like they're werewolf days.
the dark chill howl
a shadow in the trees
Idea blossoms

Toby Barlow:
I was mulling over writing a love story when
I came across an article about a dogcatcher
which then reminded me of a pack of dogs I once saw in L.A.
So I made it a love story about animals
of a kind
'cause after all, that's what we are.
We like to kid ourselves
that we're more interested in the Platonic ideals
than a plate of steak
but really, that ain't the case.
We're animals, through and through.

I hadn't been thinking about it for years
it just sort of came to me.
Though once I started
I realized
dogs had been nipping at my heels
for most of my life.

Leave a Comment

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this blog until approved.

Comments (6)

Kindle version please! I don't buy hardcover books anymore!

Posted by: | Tuesday June 12, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Shame on you!
For cutting the thread,
Of atrocious poetry.

Posted by: Master (not so) Prudent | Friday March 7, 2008 at 11:02 PM

I was joking, too! And considering how bad my haikus are!... LOL!


Posted by: Jeff VanderMeer | Friday March 7, 2008 at 8:37 AM

just teasing--really!--
wanted an excuse to use
"verbal verdigris"



Posted by: Aric Annear | Thursday March 6, 2008 at 10:20 PM

Cold coffee
Thrown on colder concrete
Steal our joy for no good reason.


Posted by: Jeff VanderMeer | Thursday March 6, 2008 at 5:26 PM

The author is to be commended
for merging phonics with the furry,
But if I do not recommend it
to friends, it's not a mystery.
Aren't poems much more than breaking lines
at will, and verbal verdigris?
No one says you have to rhyme,
but how 'bout meter? Prosody?
There's more to structure than some forms
like sonnets, haiku, villainelles;
there's assonance and consonance--
alliteration also sells.
If it were prose I might've read it.
As poetry it sucks--there, I've said it.

Threw in the alexandrine at no charge.

Posted by: Aric Annear | Thursday March 6, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Lists + Reviews

Best Books Literature + Fiction Nonfiction Kids + Young Adult Mystery, Thriller + Suspense Science Fiction + Fantasy Comics + Graphic Novels Romance Eating + Drinking


Interviews Guest Essays Celebrity Picks

News + Features

News Features Awards


Omnivoracious, The Amazon Book Review

Feeds Facebook Twitter YouTube