In The Bark of the Dog, Merrill Gilfillan summons lyric equivalents to landscapes and day shapes, drawing on off-hand song, bird’s-eye bearings, and the vortical power of place names. Like Basho’s haiku, Gilfillan’s poems are anchored in time as well as space: an hour of the day, inflected by thunder or a pear; a month of the year, marked by the trees-in-wind or birds “moving through the mesh of the dangerous starlight.” Whether in casual epistles or country blues, we find ourselves immersed in the phenomenal world, propelled by the twin forces of curiosity and affinity: “When you get to Owl River / picture these poems / flying over the hills.”