This is a review of Christina Sng’s book, “Catku,” from Allegra Press. To check out the book, and to purchase it, visit: http://www.allegrapress.net/
Though they say there are dog people and cat people, I believe that all of us see something special in cats: their individuality, their mysterious behavior, their love (given on their own accord), and much more.
Catku by Christina Sng is a celebration of and exposition into the lives we share with cats, and the inner lives of these felines through a mixture of light, meditative, and poignant haiku. There are standout haiku on every page, but the following are my favorite three from the book:
kitten in a box
This points to several things: the possibilities of the power of innocence, the possibilities of the kitty tearing things up, and also imagining how the kitty will look in its future. Also, this haiku could be saying that our world is like a kitten in a box. It gives a lot for the reader to imagine and to ponder over. Notice also the great sense of sound with the use of “o” which gives the reader a strong sense of wonder.
our cat languorously
I love how the connection between the two parts of the haiku make one think if the stream is actually grooming its surroundings through its relaxed pace. People step on, spit on, and do whatever they like to Mother Earth, and the stream is in a sense cleaning and soothing the land. But on the other end, maybe it can be seen as the stream constantly purifying itself through its own movement. The sense of sound in this haiku is also intriguing, with a focus on “ea” in the first line, and “o” in the last two lines. The sound in the first line calls attention to the stream itself, and the sound in the last two lines lend to the slow pace of the stream.
the empty pet bed
in the corner
Maybe the poet was sitting in her living room, and saw white lilies in her garden, and then turned to the white, empty pet bed in the room. White lilies commonly symbolize innocence and purity, and the empty pet bed gives a sharp contrast. This haiku implies that one of the poet’s pets died not long ago, and seeing the white lilies maybe brought back memories of her pet, in all its sweetness and emotional fullness. The haiku could also be a reflection of where the pet has gone in the afterlife, and that maybe there is a sense of hope in seeing the white lilies. Whatever the haiku brings to the mind of the reader, it has a clear mood that can be felt palpably.
My recommendation would be to read this book alone with your cat, sipping some tea. The haiku are quite striking, comedic, and at times rather emotional, so it is good to give yourself space to read it.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky