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On Cats

“Bukowski brought everybody down to earth, even the angels.” This quote by Leonard Cohen on the front cover of the book, gives the reader a moments pause and reflection time before opening and steeling oneself for the contemporary poetry that follows. The whole book is devoted to cats, and they are written about mostly in poetry but also in short stories.

 As we sat around the dining table discussing this book, the popular view was that it was unsavoury, there was nothing pleasant about many of the references to cats eating birds, pissing on computers, being run over, or eating their dead human companions. There was something very final and withering about this book. Then a friend read out some snippets, “but I can look at an animal for hours and find nothing but grace and glory, life as it should be. “ We agreed that that was a very perceptive piece of writing, but gosh it was the only one. But wait; there was another quote, “remember there is a cat somewhere adjusting to the space of itself with a delightful wonderment of easiness”.

 And so the discussion wore on until again our friend said, “Look at what you are doing, you have been discussing this for an hour, it is provocative”. We paused and considered her comment, but as I stroked my cat, and looked at the book, the negative tales outweighed the insightful messages, and I still felt uncomfortable reading the stories and poems.

 For those who enjoy dark, contemporary, poetry and have a feel for cats, you may come to relate to the readings, and not cringe at some of the visions.

Author Charles Bukowski, edited by Abel DeBritto
Publisher A&U Canongate
ISBN 9781782117254
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released December 2015