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Poetry General

Coping with Emotions and Otters

by (author) Dina Del Bucchia

Initial publish date
Apr 2012
General, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2012
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15
  • Grade: 10


Combining serial poetic technique with pop psychology how-to books, Dina Del Bucchia fashions punchy emotional guides in an age when illusory autonomy is achieved by “going viral” and through obsessive identification with celebrities, tracking two otters holding hands at the Vancouver Aquarium and watched by millions, prompting us to meditate upon the media frustum through which we construct emotional realities.

About the author


  • Short-listed, ReLit Awards, poetry category

Contributor Notes

Dina Del Bucchia holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has contributed articles to numerous literary journals and writes a monthly column for Canada Arts Connect. Del Bucchia lives and works in Vancouver.

Editorial Reviews

“a delightful and poignant satire of our narcissistic and celebrity-obsessed culture. Del Bucchia has a radar for the ridiculous: our propensity to deify celebrities (even if they’re otters), our love of navel-gazing, our desire for transformation in ten easy steps. … If this book was only funny though, it would become tiresome. It isn’t. There is beautiful and moving writing in these pages.”
PRISM International

“Dina Del Bucchia aims her sassy wit at ‘jealousy,’ ‘happiness,’ ‘guilt’ and other subjective experiences—if you’re unable to admit how these wily emotions truly manifest for you, Del Bucchia is more than willing. Her poems are like hot gossip from whip-smart grapevine that you simply can’t help but overhear.”
– Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa and How Poetry Saved My Life

“Dina Del Bucchia’s debut is funny, perversely beautiful, and satirical without being judgmental. Here, all emotions are to be revelled in, from happiness (‘soft lighting, WiFi connection, rat poison’) to shame (‘catch the glimpse of uncertainty / as you mispronounce countries’). Buy, read, and clutch to your chest this comforting poetic guide for painful times.”
– Jennica Harper, author of The Octopus and Other Poems and What It Feels Like For a Girl

Coping with Emotions and Otters is subversive, sly, and hilarious. In it, Dina Del Bucchia not only reveals the emotional landscapes of the beautiful-on-the-outside urbanites, but also treats us to wry and unexpectedly poignant step-by-step guides on how to properly achieve these feelings ourselves. Sharp and candid, Del Bucchia deftly holds a comic mirror to our own awkward lives in this exciting, accomplished debut.”
- Marita Dachsel, author of All Things Said & Done

“Del Bucchia’s parodic machinery works at full throttle… These pieces achieve a taut balance between satiric distance & sad self-laceration. … I’m not sure what, exactly, Del Bucchia wants to do, but I’m pretty sure she sympathizes. Coping with Emotions and Otters has pushed firmly if in a roundabout way to that final line.”
Eclectic Ruckus

"In any case, Coping with Emotions and Otters, as the title indicates, is unlike any book of poetry you’ve ever read. And while it sends up the self-help genre, you’ll still feel like a better person after reading it, although not for the reasons you think."
- Jacqueline Turner, Georgia Straight

Librarian Reviews

Coping with Emotions and Otters

“I see humour in the poetry of this ridiculous world,” writes Del Bucchia in the Afterword of her publishing debut. This book of satirical poems uses the structure of self-improvement books to confront our more scary emotions and unhealthy coping strategies. From “Shame Affirmations” to “How to Be Sad”, Del Bucchia’s poems are “handy 10-step guides” that explore those awkward feelings we don’t discuss. The poems uplift us by connecting readers to our shared vulnerability. The second part of the book begins with poems about Milo and Nyac, the Vancouver Aquarium otters who became YouTube sensations after a video was uploaded showing the critters holding hands. These poems begin with comments uploaded to the web by Milo and Nyac fans and unfold into observations about celebrity obsession and addiction to the Internet.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

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