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Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse
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Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In the vein of his bestselling French for Cats, Henry Beard has assembled a brilliant anthology of treasured works by feline poets. Includes " Do Not Go Gentle to That Damned Vet" by Dylan Thomas's cat, " The Human" by Edgar Allan Poe's cat and other works. Poetry for Cats will prove as thrilling as a stiff shot of catnip. Color illustrations.
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 25th 1994 by Villard
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Dec 27, 2011 Manny rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like cats and poetry
Earlier today, we were walking past one of the open-air bookstalls on Rue de la Marché when I noticed a second-hand copy of this book. It opened naturally at the following poem, which I liked so much that I immediately had to read it aloud:
Kubla Kat
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Cat

In Xanadu did Kubla Kat
A splendid sofa-bed decree
With silken cushions soft and fat
A perfect feline habitat
Set on a gilt settee.
And twice ten yards of fine brocade
The golden ottoman arrayed:
And there were pillows
Every cat and poetry lover should find delights to savor in this brilliant book; preferably, it should be read aloud to your cats. One ought to know the human versions of the poems for full appreciation, and it can help to know something of the life story of the poets so that you can fully appreciate their cats' POV. Consider for example:

The End of the Raven
by Edgar Allen Poe's Cat

On a night quite unenchanting, when a rain was downward slanting
I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice fo
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
My favorite is the parody of Leaves of Grass.
Feb 09, 2009 Christy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of felines and fine poetry
Who would’ve known? Every famous poet has owned a cat who wrote in the same style he did. For example, Lord Byron’s cat wrote “She Walks in Booties,” John Donne’s Cat wrote “Vet Be Not Proud,” Robert Frost’s cat wrote “Sitting by the Fire on a Snowy Evening,” and T. S. Eliot’s cat wrote “The Love Song of J. Morris Housecat.” By far the most charming was Poe’s cat, who didn’t sit idly by while his master chatted with the Raven: “Then I crouched and quickly leapt up, pouncing on the feathered bore ...more
This is a cleverly done collection of famous poems which have been altered so that they are written from the point of view of the poet's cat, and are about cat-related topics. The poems cover such topics as vase-breaking, mouse-catching, visits to the vet, and advice to kittens such as "get ye a human while ye may." The verses rewritten include: Kubla Kat, The Prologue to Territory Lost, one of Hamlet's soliloquies, and She Walks in Booties. This collection will be appreciated by all cat lovers ...more
If the parodic quality of this gem of kitty lit is anything to go by, this contributor to National Lampoons knows his poetry inside out, all the way from 'Grendel's Dog' from 'Beocat' by the unknown Old-English poet's cat (translated by the Editor's cat) to 'Meowl' by Allen Ginsburg's cat, by way of (my favourite) 'On First Looking into Clark's Larder' by John Keats' cat. Skittish and kittenish, and no, you don't need a cat to enjoy it (but it helps).
For a review in Dutch, see message 3 of Poetry originally written in other languages than Dutch of the Netherlands & Flanders group.

I came across Poetry For Cats years ago but completely forgot about it, to be honest, until a GR friend of mine read and rated it. And by now I am the proud owner of a lovely copy :-)

All poems are written from a cat's point of view of course, and are a lovely parody on the work of the great poets. Reading these poems made me smile, grin, chuckle and sometimes ev
Love, love, love this book! It is hilarious, even if you have not read the original poems. But it is just that much better if you are familiar with the original works.


by Carl Sandburg's Cat

The storm comes
on big human feet.

It goes stomping
across harbor and city
in clumsy hipboots
and then plods on.
Thomas Ray
If cats could write poetry, in Henry Beard's Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse, whose cat might have submitted an entry containing the following tale?

"On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting,
I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for.
Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven,
(He) was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door.

Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered,
I adore this book! If you have owned a cat and were subjected to any teacher/professor's interpretation of poems that really made no sense, this will be funny to you. The author does a great job of catching the flavor of the original poet and puts in a poem written by that poet's cat that is so hysterical to me!
Enni Gregas
Read #2 on my 52 in 52 Quest: Delightful 70th birthday gift from Meagan and Matt who share my love of poetry and cats. This clever anthology opens where English literature begins, sort of, with "Grendel's Dog" from BEOCAT and prowls through the canon ending with "Meowl" by Allen Ginsberg's Cat. Hilarious and right on in terms of sending up the appropriate style, language, structure of each of these familiar works. For those who have loved/taught poetry---pour yourself a nice cup of tea or lovely ...more
Funny interpretation of cat poetry!

PS: The Raven must have tasted good!
The author clearly loves both poetry and cats.

Years ago -- back when spam had to be sent via fax -- someone sent me "The End of the Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe's cat," and I loved it so much that I made a copy and tossed it in my "treasures" file. I dug it out this month when I learned that the kidlet was studying Poe in English class, and a little Googling revealed the source.

The Poe is a highlight:

While the bard and birdie chattered,
I made sure that nothing clattered,
Creaked, or snapped, or fe
Probably the stupidest collection of filks I've ever seen. I laughed at the Crane, WCW and Cummings riffs though.

(A man said to the universe... "Excellent," replied the universe. "I've been looking for someone to take care of my cats ")"
Meow! What a pleasant read for cat lovers everywhere. The author brilliantly reworks classic poems by inserting cats and feline motifs throughout. An excellent light read.
If you like poetry and you like cats, you'll probably like this book.
I was familiar with most of the poems which were being parodied so it made it a lot more fun.

If you're not into "classic" poetry and only like cats, it'll be hit-or-miss as to whether you'll like this book.

I thought it was fun.
The definitive anthology of distinguished feline verse. I wonder what Mercury writes when I'm not looking.

The storm comes on big human feet.
It goes stomping across harbor and city
in clumsy hipboots and then plods on.
-Carl Sandburg's Cat
Irish Gal
Very funny, especially if you've ever been owned by a cat and know their idiosyncrasies. If you are knowledgable about poetry you'll enjoy it even more - he does an excellent job echoing the original works of the "cat owners" (poets).
Sarah Sammis
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Beard's "French for Cats" and the follow up book. While some of these poems were great parodies on famous poetry, I often would have prefered to have read the originals!
Who can beat a book of poems written by famous authors' cats? Loved Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy by Shakespeare's cat. A rare gem of a book.
If you know a cat, and you know poetry, you will find this book amusing!
I wanted to like this more than I did. It's cute, but uneven.
Jul 10, 2008 Jeanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ms or hs English teachers
This book is so clever for those who enjoy or teach poetry.
Cute. I dare not attempt to pin down the poetry of a cat!
Quite fun and silly.
Douglas Wilson
Pretty funny.
Lexidh Solstad
Lexidh Solstad marked it as to-read
May 25, 2015
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Henry N. Beard (born ca. 1945) is an American humorist, one of the founders of the magazine National Lampoon and the author of several best-selling books.

Beard, a great-grandson of Vice President John C. Breckinridge, was born into a well-to-do family and grew up at the Westbury Hotel on East 69th Street in Manhattan. His relationship with his parents was cool, to judge by his quip "I never saw my
More about Henry N. Beard...
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Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy

"To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the houselhold's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scraches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?
Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.”

"A man said to the universe,
'Sir, I exist!'
'Excellent,' replied the universe,
'I've been looking for someone to take care of my cats.”
More quotes…