Divine bovine poetry: Dr. Robert Moore reads from The Golden Book of Bovinities

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The Lorenzo Society was pleased to host Robert Moore, a doctor of English and professor at UNBSJ, on Friday, Oct. 19, as he launched his new collection of poetry entitled, The Golden Book of Bovinities.

“It’s a terrific honour to launch through The Lorenzo Society,” says Moore, “it’s one of the best reading series in Canada.”

The room was packed to capacity as Moore gave readings from some of his previous works. As he read, the audience chuckled at his wit with words and excellent writing talent.

After reminiscing with his earlier works, Moore dove into his latest collection, consisting of one long poem that had been broken down into fragments.

At first glance, Moore’s poems appear to be the musings of a seemingly ordinary cow. Under the surface, however, The Golden Book of Bovinities goes much deeper than the life of a simple cow. Through what would be daily bovine observations, Moore unveils truths about humanity and ponders such things as the existence of God, human cruelty, art, life and death.

“If there’s a message at all, [in The Golden Book of Bovinities],” says Moore, “I suppose it’s the general message [that] all poetry should communicate: be more attentive to the world.”

Moore’s inspiration for his new collection derives from a comment made by Annie Dillard in her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, stating that cows are a human product. “I came to realize how profoundly odd a cow is,” says Moore, “As animals they are at once decidedly themselves, ultimately unknown to us, and yet profoundly like us in the sense that we, quite literally, made them. They’re an extension of us.”

Combined with an appreciation for the scale of slaughter associated with cows, “A book of cow wisdom, putatively written by cows themselves, just seemed like the next logical step,” says Moore.

Moore’s collection received a combination of reactions, ranging from confusion over a narrative written from the view point of a farm animal, to admiration of a unique method for communicating very real human thoughts and emotions.