Alicia Ostriker’s The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog begins with a quote by Gertrude Stein:
A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.
The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog reminds me of the Hindu parable where blind men touch a different part of an elephant, each imagining another animal. In Alicia Ostriker’s The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog, the three narrators look at or think about the same thing so they can see but each according to their natures.
There is magic in the number three. We have triangles, pyramids, triumvirates, menages à trois, trios and trinities, and in Alicia Ostriker’s fables, a human, a plant, and an animal whose conversations are charming, witty, and enlightening when we allow ourselves to believe in the way children believe in the fairy tales read to them at bedtime.
In the Vimeo below, the poet begins by talking about how and why she wrote these fables, which are different from her other work. In these trying times, one could listen to her read them at bedtime, a reassuring voice soothing us off to sleep. In these poems there is peace. Enjoy.
Four poems follow from The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog that are not read in the Vimeo.
The Old Woman, The Tulip and the Dog is published by University of Pittsburgh Press. You can check it out here: