Why We Live with Animals

Poetry by Alvin Greenberg

July 1990 • 6 x 9 • 96 pages • 978-0-918273-78-9

“Why do we live with animals?” thought Alvin Greenberg to himself, and he subsequently wrote these wonderfully witty poems.

Why We Live with Animals is a collection of more than sixty humorous sonnets that meditate, elaborate, equivocate and explicate on the question of why we live with animals. Pigs, cats, dogs and chickadees parade across these pages as objects of love, table conversation, protectors, companions, and spectators of our souls. Complemented by original wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec, this book is the perfect gift for the literate animal lover.


“This charming book-length sonnet sequence answers what Greenberg (Heavy Wings) believes is the only serious question: ‘why do we live with animals / with all those people waiting to be our pals . . . ?’ In reply, he tells us that we keep animals (most often household dogs and cats, here) because they need us. . . . In Greenberg’s poems, animals evoke nostalgia for lost childhood and restore for us the primeval world of our ancestors—bones and blood. They are an essential mirror; without them, we cannot discover our true natures. . . . convincing us that ‘if animals didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them.’” —Publishers Weekly