I Could Pee On This And Other Poems By Cats, by Francesco Marciuliano
As someone who reads quite a lot of books related to cat humor , I must say I was very pleased by these poems, which demonstrated both a fondness for cats and an attempt to deeply understand their ways. If you are fond of neurotic and schizoid approaches to poetry–and few people appreciate these sorts of approaches to poetry than I do, being someone of deep relational ambivalence and fairly high levels of concern about those around me. I found these cats, in other words, to be highly Nathanish in the most amusing way, although I have never had a housecat as a pet. Suffice it to say, that this book was excellent enough for me to appreciate it as an impulsive library get and for me to want to read the rest of the books that the author has to offer, and that is definitely a good sign. I am not even bothered by the fact that the author pretended these works were written by cats, as some people might be, because the poems were written from the point of view of someone who knows cats well and wants to understand them.
The book of poems consists of around 100 poems in a bit more than 100 pages alongside a lot of photos of adorable kittehs divided into four sections. After an introduction the poems are divided into selections on family, work, play, and existence. The poems on family express the cats’ view of their owners, including their seeming inconsistency in wanting to be let inside the house and the frustration that cats have when their offerings of dead mice are not viewed as the sign of mighty hunting but are terrifying. Likewise, the author shows a sense of humor about the way that cats spend their time, desire to be worshiped, and have a fondness for tiny boxes. Virtually all of these poems are at least pleasantly enjoyable and a few of them are of such skill that they should be anthologized as excellent poems on their own right apart from having been written from the point of view of cats. Again, it must be emphasized that the author has done a great job of observing cats and thinking about their approach to life and existence and related matters of considerable seriousness.
There are a wide variety of emotional registers to be found here, something that demonstrates the poet’s skill. At times the cats appear to be proud and distant, at times they act like jealous wives or girlfriends, and at other times they show themselves to be easily distracted. Yet there are moments of genuine confusion here as the cats struggle with serious philosophical matters such as the impermanence of existence and with loneliness and the proper way to express curiosity. The author even makes some sound and critical comments about the sort of material one sees if one watches television all day and suggests that the behavior of human beings may damage the emotional health of cats, a striking and subtle observation. There are a lot of worthwhile observations the author makes, and the book not only makes you appreciate the skill of the writer himself but also the cats that the author is writing about. The cats in this book are ones that I would be able to relate to, and whose emotional life I would probably attempt to understand if I was around them also. Despite my lack of experience in having pets, I have seen them enough to recognize the rich and complex emotional lives they possess.
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