James Servin writes about his cats sleeping on a pile of laundry toastiness, the power of their purr, and the catfight begat by a lick that went the wrong way. The proud owner of four cats, Servin notices so much when his cats relax, nap, and play. He says their peace is contagious and their tail swish is kingly. The pulse he can feel through their feather-soft fur, and their habits of hair licking, ker-plunking on his feet, or greeting him with ten claws on the back pocket are observations he good-humoredly captured in his poems.
Servin’s poetry book is divided into two sections. Purr contains thirty poems about his cats. Most are half a page or shorter in length and untitled. However, poems such as “Ghost in the Machine,” “Kitty Politics,” and “The Fighting” are one to two pages in length. The poems are eloquent, and calming, highlighting a cat’s serene nature and at times, their curious behavior. The Human Parade contains poems depicting scenes from a supermarket, a barbershop, and an art gallery. He writes about a memorable goodbye at a housewares store and the joy of escalator rides and blueberry pancakes. For a period of time, Servin worked as a taxi driver on the weekends, and five poems in this section were inspired by this brief employment.
Two black-and-white drawings by Nina Jordan illustrate the two sections of poetry. In Purr, four cats are shown sleeping in a variety of poses; in The Human Parade, three cats are shown looking out a window. These are simple drawings, but they capture the heart of a cat - just as Servin does with his poems.
Servin’s work has appeared in various magazines including Vogue Living, Martha Stewart Living, and Page Six Magazine. A journalist based in New York and the features editor for BlackBook magazine, Servin began writing the poems for Purr after the events of September 11, 2001, when his cats Melanie, Andy, Toby, and Moses got him through a difficult time and reminded him of the good things in life.