Cats as your favorite beat poets. Yes. »
In honor of the Contemporary Jewish Museums Ginsberg exhibit, they’ve teamed up with SF SPCA to honor the beats’ favorite pet: the kitty!
The connection is natural as Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Burroughs all owned and were photographed with their cats. Kerouac mourned deeply after his cat died. And Burroughs wrote a book solely on cats, titled, The Cat Inside.
And as the post proposes, these shelter cats have lived beat lives. Above is Thistle as Burroughs:
Thistle easily evokes Burroughs with his long limbs, quiet demeanor, and bony face with large protruding eyes. Poor Thistle had a hairball. We feared he was taking his role of Burroughs too seriously. He looked unwell for a moment and we feared he was going to vomit. But a true champion, he pulled it together, kept it all in, and we finished. Thistle then nodded out in front of the typewriter after the shoot.
And here’s Dorothy as Ginsberg:
Crazy beat cats! Check out the rest of the portraits.
That’s the text of what may be the world’s first animal rights poem, written in 1773 by sympathetic lab assistant Anna Barbauld from the point of view of one of the mice in her lab.
"There’s this extraordinary moment," says historian Richard Holmes. "Priestley packs up for the day, and he leaves that next mouse in a cage on his desk for the next morning. He will put it [in a breathing tank] and remove the oxygen, and the mouse will almost certainly die. And Anna Barbauld, who’s cleaning up, she just looks at the mouse, and she thinks, wait a minute, wait a minute … and she sits down and writes a poem."