I am not comfortable reviewing poetry. I do not deem myself qualified to do so. However, because of the subject matter of this volume I thought I’d ‘give it a go’. A ‘cat person’ since before I could walk, anything with cats as the subject has always interested me.
Bukowski is definitely a ‘cat person’. His relationship with them is one of mutual respect, reverence, admiration, understanding, and delight. Like an old stray himself, Bukowski’s rapport with his felines is profound.
“Animals are inspirational. They don’t know how to lie. They are natural forces.”
Interspersed with the cat poetry are wise reflections on life and aging:
“I don’t like love as a command, as a search. It must come to you, like a hungry cat at the door”.
“we laugh less and less, become more sane. all we want is the absence of others.”
Not without snippets of humor, “On Cats” will touch all those who have had a relationship with a cat. Bukowski talks about his favorite cat, Monday, a cross-eyed, shot, runover, de-tailed cat with reverence and deep respect. Then he talks about his ‘other’ favorite cat, and the reader realizes – with a smile – that they were all his ‘favorites’.
Bukowski, a german-born American poet and novelist has been coined “The Dirty Old Man of American letters”. He is someone everyone should read at some point in their lives. His poetic musings touch the soul.
His writing often featured a depraved metropolitan environment, downtrodden members of American society, direct language, violence, and sexual imagery, and many of his works center around a roughly autobiographical figure named Henry Chinaski. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose.