I am a huge fan of persona poems we have spotlighted some really great persona poems on the site [i.e Marshall Jones] and today I stumbled on an absolute gem that will fit nice into that collection. “Poem In The Voice Of The Cat I Stayed With For 10 Days” combines several things that make a great poem all into one. There is a really good performance aspect to this piece as he takes on the mannerism of a cat, he does not overdo it though, he finds the perfect balance which is why this poem is so strong. A lot of persona poems go wrong when the poet focuses so heavily on the persona that the piece ends up being bad theatre instead of really good piece of performance poetry.
The second thing Febo does really well is fuse comedic elements with undertones of seriousness and he does this masterfully. It is entertaining the whole way through as you go on a journey of how this cat relates to this stranger over the course of 10 days. As you are listening however you start to get the human elements that he weaves into the poem, you understand that this poem is heavy and light at the same time, that is incredibly difficult to do, which is why this poem really struck me upon my first listen.
on the surface this is a cute persona poem about a cats relationship with a new person, but if you pull back a couple of layers it is so much more than that. It is a poem about loneliness and connection. It is about venerability and our innate desire for interaction, to be loved to be cared about.
My favourite day was day 8, the relationship takes a sharp turn and Febo goes into a really gorgeous section of prose it starts
you are not the person I love, but I found a place on your chest that is warm that is welcome home after being gone all day
I met Febo many years ago we shared a stage at Manhattanville College in upstate New York ( I think its upstate, anything north of Yonkers is upstate to me) 🙂
Im not sure how current this is but I found this brief bio listing some of Febo’s accomplishments. Anthony Febo is a poet, actor, youth worker, lover and friend. He founded Mill City Slam, the adult slam poetry scene, and M.O.M.S. the Middlesex/UMass Lowell college slam poetry scene in 2010. Along side his fellow partners in rhyme, in 2009 he founded FreeVerse!, a youth organization dedicated to expand the presence of spoken word in the city of Lowell. He is a lover of theatre and art, a strong believer that poetry is something we live, and a pretty good dancer
Aside from being a really good poet, when we met and chopped it up, I found him to be an all around cool genuine dude. Check out the poem and also follow the link below to his Facebook page to connect and learn more about this poet.