Gilbert Allen has fun with words. It is a pleasure to watch him hit nail after nail on the head. These are poems of delightful wit and wise laughter. Allen has come into the fullness of his voice and vision, and found the idiom of our time, in these poems of the all-too-human comedy, of humanity.      

—Robert Morgan


Having earned a reputation as a poet of the heart and mind, Gilbert Allen lays claim to the funny bone in his latest collection, Catma. Yet even when poking fun at rednecks, religious zealots, politicians, professors, and pop culture, Allen’s poems reveal a deep affection for life in all its forms: human, plant, and animal (particularly feline). Not to be too “catmatic” about it: this seriously playful collection belongs in your beach bag, summer hammock, or bedside reading stack.    

—Julie Kane


In the wise and witty poems of Catma, Mr. Allen casts an alert and literary sidelong eye at the strange and familiar quirks of modern America in which things like Ground Chuck, Monday Night Football, and “The Woman Who Vacuums Her Driveway” are seen with a lens that’s tinted, too, by luminaries like Rilke, Dickinson, Housman, Yeats, Flaubert. With a big heart and an expert pen, he draws our attention to things we might have looked at once but didn’t really see in these beautiful, moving poems. They are truly a delight.

    —Greg Williamson



Gilbert Allen is the author of six collections of poems: In Everything, Second Chances, Commandments at Eleven, Driving to Distraction, Body Parts, and Catma. He also edited the anthologies 45/96 and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry. His work has received The Robert Penn Warren Prize in Poetry from The Southern Review and has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily. He is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature at Furman University. Since 1977 he has lived in upstate South Carolina with his wife, Barbara — and with their eight unforgettable cats.