Louisiana State University Press, 9780807157497, 66pp.
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Solitary, graceful, and contemplative, cats have inspired poets from Charles Baudelaire to Margaret Atwood to serve as their chroniclers and celebrants. They have appeared, wrapped in their inscrutability, in verse both sensual and spiritual, weary and whimsical. With Familiars, Fred Chappell proves himself a worthy addition to the fellowship of poets who have sought to immortalize their beloved cats.
Here are cats as personalities, cats as art objects and historical figures, cats as reflections of human temperament. Chappell salutes the literary cats of decades past -- George Herriman's happy-go-lucky Krazy Kat, Don Marquis's grande dame mehitabel -- and the imagined cats who claim as their companions the characters from Chappell's own past poems. The cats in Familiars are alert and affectionate, equal parts cherished friends and unknowable mysteries.