dislike cute cat
but I’ve written one
– my cat, the writer (Bukowski 83).
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Charles Bukowski’s On Cats, the name Bukowski was only a vaguely familiar in my mind, but I adore Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and figured another poetry collection literally “On Cats” would be to my liking when I was gifted it one year for my birthday. Luckily my friend was right, you just can’t go wrong writing about cats.
I haven’t read much poetry, am trying to remedy that while also trying to figure out how to review poetry. As I read more poetry I know I can recognize what I like and dislike in the poems I read, and even in the ones I dislike I can usually tell if they’re well-written or not. I guess when I read poetry I’m looking for ones that make me feel something, something that elicits some sort of emotion. I look for that in books as well, anything that can make me feel, but for some reason it’s more important when it comes to poetry for me. And being about cats certainly doesn’t hurt the authors chances that I’ll enjoy them.
Bukowski’s poems aren’t all centered on his cats, though many of them especially near the end are. Cats are mentioned and featured though in all the works, as is expected. Having never read anything of Bukowski I still didn’t expect what I was reading. There’s a rawness to his work, an edginess to his testosterone-filled stanzas. It reminded me of Vonnegut for some reason and I’ve only read one thing by Vonnegut so take that as you will, but surprisingly I enjoyed the poems. Because wow, does this man love his cats. It made my heartache how much this edgy old-man loved these sweet creatures, how he praised them, complained about them, and loved them so deeply and how all of this was conveyed even in the poems where he wasn’t focusing on the cats.
If you like poems and cats and poems about cats then On Cats is a poetry collection for you. Raw and surprisingly moving, I understand the draw Bukowski had on his reader’s and can’t wait to explore more of his work.
Publication: December 1st 2015
Pages: 128 pages (Paperback)
Source: Owned (Thanks Ashley!)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
Felines touched a vulnerable spot in the unfathomable soul of Charles Bukowski, the Dirty Old Man of American letters. On Cats brings together the acclaimed writer’s reflections on the animals he so admired. Bukowski’s cats are fierce and demanding—he captures them stalking their prey, crawling across his typewritten pages; waking him up with claws across the face. But they are also affectionate and giving, sources of inspiration and gentle, insistent care.