The Night I Dropped Shakespeare on the Cat
by John Olson
or get from Asterism
images (cover and from within the book)
by Derek White
"The night I thought I dropped Shakespeare on the cat I felt the reprieve of the man who accidentally goes through a red light without getting hit, the relief of the man who falls from a high cliff only to discover he’s been dreaming. But the relief isn’t immediate. It takes a little time. There are those few seconds in which the reality of the bed and sheets and room penetrate and so permeate the dream-ridden brain that the dream finally dissipates, melts back into the night from whence it came. There was no cliff, although the fiction of falling, the dream of falling was so real the brain believed all the whirling and twirling and limbs splaying and ground coming up were real. Meaning there is sometimes reality in irreality. Meaning a dream can be mud. Genuine as rain. The space in which I believed there to be a cat and there was no cat was that delicious space we call a fiction."
"To be sure, Olson's poetry works the reader, wakes up the mind, and makes one wonder that someone first named an object or action, that someone once sculpted those "bits of air called words." And if, centuries ago, a person gave name to a thing, then why not the poet now? Why not pry word from the meaning or give expression to something seemingly nonsensical that may after all make sense? This is what poets do in the realm of art."
Rebecca Spears, from review in Sentence 5.
Other reviews of The Night I Dropped Shakespeare on the Cat appeared in:
Some of the pieces—prose poems, surreal flash fictions, wildly speculative essays—from The Night I Dropped Shakespeare on the Cat have appeared in the following places: