Tails & Tales, John Manesis
Cat Poems, 130 pp
August 2020, Independently published
Reviewed by Bill Mathis, http://www.billmathiswriteretc.com
I’ve owned several cats over the years. Please, let me start again. Any cat lover will know that I’ve been owned by several cats. I’ve also owned several dogs in my many turns around the sun. Though I somewhat preferred my dogs—at least they let me think I owned them—I am fond of cats. Still, when Tails & Tales, Cat Poems by John Manesis arrived in the mail I wondered how I would write a review. How would I describe the plot? How could I describe character development? I’m not much of a poet, but critiquing rhyme and meter of poems about nothing but cats? Seventy-three poems about cats, if I counted correctly. I then discovered some of the poems were written by cats! Auto-biographical poems about their lives on the streets, in rich people’s homes, on ships. Other poems were historically accurate. One cat received an award from the Queen of England.
Author John Manesis produced a book of cat poems that are humorous, thought provoking, sad, and hit all my emotions. Some were about cats the Manesis’ family lived with over the years—welcoming them, traveling with, paying extra airfare to move them with the family to new places, losing them, finding them, saying goodbye at their demise. In other words, everything anyone has experienced with cats will be found on one of these pages. Each poem is told richly, with creativity and thoughtfulness.
There’s a poem about a recently widowed cat seeking love in the lonely hearts section of the Meow Gazette. True poem-stories are integrated throughout the book. One cat, named Emily, stowed away in a shipping container to Europe and returned via first class airfare to Appleton, Wisconsin. Mark Twain’s cat, Livy, helped him recover from depression following his wife’s death.
And there’s the humor, some subtle, some not. Some I’m still laughing over.
A tom who was known as Eugene
never cared for the alley routine.
He went to the vet to be “fixed,”
insisted his privates be “nixed,”
now goes by the name of Colleen.
Curiosity Killed the Cat
A kitten by the name of Bemused,
to show litter mates he wasn’t confused,
set out in search of the great beyond,
wound up in a local farmer’s pond
and was rescued by his brother, Amused.
Cat lover or not, you can’t go wrong with owning this book. Just be thankful it’s cat approved.
Reviewer Bill Mathis is the author of four novels dealing with diverse families and situations. He lives in Beloit, Wisconsin. Check him out at: http://www.billmathiswriteretc.com, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BillMathisWritersEtc/.
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