International cat day is the purr-fect time to celebrate man’s true best friends: cats. Here are a few of our favourite feline-centric books.
This Is Not A Rescue, Emily Blewitt (£9.99)
The author’s much-loved tortoiseshell cat is at the centre of this sharply satirical and entertaining book of poetry, bursting into poems with powerful personality. ‘We Broke Up’, the poem begins: ‘Because my cat/ screamed her passion on our lawn’. In ‘Dear Emily’ the feline voice asks:
Will you fall the way that cats do,
arch your spine in a defiant, graceful twist
and land on your feet?
Artist Karin Jurick’s painting of her own cat, ‘Bitz’, makes up the beautiful cover.
My Falling Down House, Jayne Joso (£9.99)
When young salaryman Takeo Tanaka loses his home, his girlfriend and his job all in quick succession, he finds himself completely alone – apart from the company of a stray cat:
A cat had joined me on my journey from the station. He was black and handsome looking, and I guessed he was still quite young – I remember how the heat kept everything weighted, our moves made in a sun and dust slow motion.
His fears and failing health keep him inside the house through four testing seasons, and he is driven to the edge of insanity, with only a cello and the black cat to connect him to the world. Joso has written a moving exploration of identity – a must-read.
Fauverie, Pascale Petit (£9.99)
The Fauverie of this book is the big cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo, home to Aramis the black jaguar, who haunts the Paris of this poetry collection: a city savage as the Amazon.
Transforming childhood horrors to ultimately mourn a lost parent, Fauverie redeems the darker forces of human nature whilst celebrating the ferocity and grace of endangered species. Five poems from Fauverie won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize, and the manuscript in progress was awarded an Arts Council England Grant.
The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America, Richard Gwyn (£14.99)
The title is a nod to Borges’ poem, in which: ‘I go on pursuing through the hours/ Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.’ This anthology of Spanish language poetry from the Americas consists of 97 poets from 16 countries, born over five decades. It includes work from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Bolivia and El Salvador.
Richard Gwyn has arranged the poems thematically – Where We Live; Memory, Childhood, Family; the Natural World; Politics, Journey and Exile; Love, Sex and the Body – to cut across nationality and the generations, illustrating the things poets have in common, and how they differ, across continents.
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