Even the Dog was Quiet
by Margaret R. Sáraco
Illustrations and cover art by Alex Polner
Format: 6” x 9” Perfect Bound Paperback
46 poems ~ 7 B/W drawings ~ 96 pages
Price: $15.00
ISBN-10: 1948521180
ISBN-13: 9781948521185
To Order: Amazon.com & Barnes & Noble

Reviewed by Michael Escoubas

I was first drawn to Margaret Sáraco’s new collection because two of my three adult children give family-like love to four dogs. That is enough dogs for a lifetime! My wife and I have no pets. Even the Dog was Quiet, segues into Sáraco’s world of memories. Her second full-length collection in as many years is tender and provocative. She savors life. She has opened a fresh world of “seeing and savoring” for me.

The goal of this review is to illustrate Sáraco’s world of savoring.

Format & Writing Style

The book is set up in eight segments: Swoosh!, Tall Ships, Fruitful, To Whom It May Concern, Wish You Were Here, Part I, Dear So and So, Breaking Waves, and Wish You Were Here, Part II. Each heading highlights either four or five poems which develop special moments related to each. Sáraco is good at capturing moments. She seems to know where I live!!

Margaret Sáraco puts the “free” in free verse. I didn’t find any poems that rhyme. What I found was an engaging narrative style that alternated between poems with short line breaks living comfortably with prose poems. Her prose style accommodates themes that need a more expansive approach.

Free & Easy

In “Swoosh!” Sáraco draws from her Italian background to portray the love of a devoted Dachshund named Poppy. They have a daily routine in which:

          Seeing her,
          he coils himself on the sofa
          as she back ends into him.
          Understanding the routine
          he stretches himself out
          so that his head pokes out
          on one side of her
          and his tail the other.

I gave this poem extra time. The way Sáraco develops the relationship between Poppy and Grandma is a highlight to be savored. She paints pictures. The poem is “Devozione,” (Italian meaning “Devoted One), and is a clue to the collection’s title. After reading this poem I recalled, from my youth, a devoted cocker spaniel named Mac. Mac was fulfilled in life just being with me and my brothers. Thank you, Margaret.

Exquisite black and white drawings, by Alex Polner, are a nice touch. (Polner also illustrated the cover.) A chiaroscuro illustration precedes each division. Each division features its own poem centered on the page.



A bottle of wine and plate
of watermelon piled high.

Taste the sweet pink fruit
and the bitter seed.

Drink, drink, drink,

Eat, then come back and have
some more.

This delightful precursor is followed by “Bricks, Curtains and the Sunday Comics.” Autobiographical, “Bricks” aptly illustrates what being “Fruitful” means to Sáraco. Both she and her ancestors understood the meaning of suffering as they struggled to belong in their new country. These hearty souls did not wallow in self-pity. They were tough then and remain so today:

          I come from immigrant grandparents, bricklayers and stone makers
          who built their own church when no others would welcome them.

          Where men left their sweat in stone and priests implied Heaven’s
          Gates would open for loved ones if they worked for free,
          but no one could test their theory.

As the poem develops “Fruitful” takes on rich dimensions of love, suffering, loss, and triumph. The ending couplet reveals a touch of irony:

          I come from families who accepted their place, men worked
          women worked, and everyone knew their place, except me.

In “Wish You Were Here, Part II.” Sáraco’s overall cheerful outlook toward life is impossible to suppress.


The sun hides behind the clouds
but is warm and delightful.

I wish you could see the
acres of sunflowers
out my window.

Their yellow petals
smell like earth,
illuminating my corner of the world.

Maragaret Sáraco’s latest collection is about life distilled through hardship, yes, but punctuated by a keen eye for those moments when, Even the Dog was Quiet.


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