PHILIP MILLER & PATRICIA LAWSON: WHY WE LOVE OUR CATS AND DOGS
Unholy Day Press
PO Box 45036
ISBN 0 9729114 6 4
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This page last updated: 10th December 2007.
|PHILIP MILLER & PATRICIA LAWSON: WHY WE LOVE OUR CATS AND DOGS|
As the fly leaf tells us, this collection of poetry and short stories is written in dedication to Our Cats and Dogs. Published by Unholy Day Press in Missouri the collection is in four parts each part beginning with quotations about cats and dogs from a variety of artists, poets and politicians across the centuries.
The collection contains more poetry than prose, with one story in each of the four sections. The short stories, written by Patricia Lawson, vary in theme with the human characters drawn to show their response to cats and dogs in a variety of settings with sometimes comical results. In the first story of the collection FOR THE LEAVES we read of two couples on a road trip where the close proximity reveals how incompatible they are. The attitudes of each character are shown in their discussions about purchasing a beagle dog; a story with a twist in the tale, so to speak.
Almost all of the poems are written by Philip Miller, but this homage to cats and dogs begins with a poem by the co-author Patricia Lawson entitled ON THE DEATH OF OUR FAT CAT. Contrary to the title, this is not a morbid reflection on death, but compares the cat in question to a dog. We soon learn, in lines rich in assonance and alliteration that it has been the cat's appetite for any kind of food which has caused her demise:
Whatever fell and was edible, Dog food, vegetables, Though she liked things unadulterated,The warmth and intimacy expressed in this poem of remembrance sets the scene for the collection.
The poetry in particular offers marvellous insights to the imagined interior landscapes of the animals. In CAT, for example, the first lines read,
A cat has only two thoughts: "Will things ever be the same?" and "Ah, things are still the same."The theme of political correctness runs through the collection, together with ideas of the kind of individual a cat or dog lover might be and showing that cat lovers and dog lovers are different kinds of beings:
Cat people often tend to be excessiveIn contrast, the poem THE CAT II is spoken from the perspective of someone living with a cat lover asking:
Is it the cat she loves the most or me?This would be a very useful book in the classroom as an encouragement for children to read poetry. The SHAGGY DOG SESTINA, for example, a sestina created from the dog's point of view would make an excellent approach to meaning and form.
|reviewer: Irene Hossack.|