The cat has inspired literary adoration from the days of the Egyptian pharoahs to the present. The Great Cat collects an astonishing variety of poetic tributes as fascinating and insinuating as the creature itself.
Here are the medieval Pangur Bán and Yeats’s Minnaloushe, Christopher Smart’s Jeoffrey and T. S. Eliot’s “Rum Tum Tugger,” William Blake’s tyger and Rilke’s panther, and, of course, the cats of Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss. Sufi mystics, medieval Chinese poets, and haiku masters of imperial Japan have paid tribute to feline charms, as have Chaucer, Shelley, Borges, Neruda, Dickinson, Shakespeare, and Edward Lear. Our most distinguished poets across the continents and centuries have described for us kittens and old toms, pussycats and panthers, doing the things that they do best: sleeping, prowling, prancing, purring, and–occasionally–gazing disdainfully at lesser beings like ourselves. The Great Cat is a treasury of poems that will delight while celebrating as it does the beauty, the mystery, the gravity, the grace, and, of course, the unassailable superiority of the cat.