T. S. Eliot, known by the alias “Possum” among his friends, was a famous cat-lover whose habit of writing about cats and coming up with unusual names for the cats of his friends and acquaintances manifest in his poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The collection, which was originally going to be called Mr. Eliot’s Book of Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats, became only about cats when Eliot decided that it would be “impolite to wrap cats up with dogs.” Most of these poems were written between 1936 and 1938, and Eliot wrote some of them with music in mind.

It’s fitting then, that Eliot’s collection was eventually adapted into the Tony Award-winning musical CATS. As CATS makes its way back to Broadway this summer, celebrate by reading more about the life and poems of “Old Possum” himself, T. S. Eliot.

read about t. s. eliot

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