I don’t typically read poetry, but I always make an exception for the wonderful Canadian poet and icon Lorna Crozier. The Wrong Cat is her latest collection of poetry, and ‘spellbinding’ is one of the best words I can find to describe it. *
Obviously I’m going to like it because it features poems about cats, that’s a given. Although she doesn’t get into crazy cat lady territory, the cat poems simply introduce each section of the book, of which there are four in total. These short, cat-focused poems are mysterious, just like our feline friends. For example:
“Unlike the dog,
a cat defies
goes for the lyric…” (p. II)
And Crozier continues the animal theme throughout the book, including poems from different animals’ perspectives; usually their take on humans, which is wildly entertaining as you can probably imagine. She writes from the perspective of crows in quite a few pieces, as well as a lengthy ode to the nose of a moose. But these poems aren’t hokey, in fact they are quite the opposite. Crozier has a way of twisting the reader’s attention to something completely different, changing our perspectives as quickly as possible. For instance, at the end of the moose poem, she describes its mind:
“a mind of huge imaginings,
Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf
wait in line at dusk for his office hours…” (p68)
See what I mean? Brilliant right? I don’t normally read poetry, and I detest nature poetry the most; I can get some lyrical descriptions of trees from any well-written novel thank you very much. But Crozier’s writing is different. I find it completely accessible, funny at times, and always interesting. Unlike other poetry I’ve read, hers almost always tell an absorbing story.
A frequent theme she touches upon in this collection seems to be aging couples, and the dynamics of their ever-changing relationships. In “The Question”, a woman asks her husband if he thinks the amount of love in a relationship is unbalanced; if one person always loves the other more. His inner turmoil is described, and then the poem ends with the woman sitting at her vanity smearing cold cream on her face. I loved this image because I could so easily imagine it as I read it: always the sign of a good writer!
I’m still on my European tour, so I took a few weeks to read through this collection because I really did savour each poem. I’m sorry to be leaving my copy of The Wrong Cat in this hotel in Wolfsburg, but I’m hoping that some German, English-speaking person will pick it up and enjoy it just as much as I did.
*I feel as though I should mention the fact that I may not be properly citing these quotations properly, so please forgive me any mistakes I’ve made here. But you’re going to go out and buy the book yourself though, so these quotes should only be giving you a taste of what’s to come anyway.