books

9780996220668THE TORNADO IS THE WORLD (coming Dec. 2016)
Available for preorder now!
Indiebound  // SPD // Amazon

“Catherine Pierce’s long-awaited third collection is a spirited exploration of a terrain where mercurial tornadoes turn up and leave ‘chickens plucked naked, goats in bedrooms, [and] trout silvering the cotton fields.’ With a jeweler’s eye and an uncanny knack for embracing devastating truths and desires, Pierce rewrites what it means to sift through wreckage of both heart and land. This book is, simply, exquisite.” —Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The Tornado Is the World is both an irresistible invitation and a warning flare. These poems churn and grin and spit, rousing the reader with their bright wattage of lilt and glint underscored by peril. With empathy, dazzling insight, and dexterity, Pierce sings in the voice of the tornado and the terrified, all while reminding readers of the potential joy still waiting for us amidst the destruction: that feeling ‘when a red sun rises out of a place / you never thought could house a sun.’” —Simone Muench

“Catherine Pierce likes to toy with fear the way it toys with us. While she sees clearly how precarious our existence is, her imagination allows her to conjure and, at least on the page, master fear, which she describes as “that creeping illness / that keeps you cowed and dull.” Danger, in this context, unleashes her sense of play, her linguistic enthusiasm, triggering the very force that makes her world—and the world of her readers—more exciting. Here, menace is a muse, and Catherine Pierce a rousing poet.”  —Bob Hicok

 

THE GIRLS OF PECULIARThe Girls of Peculiar (coming March 2012) (Saturnalia 2012)

“In Catherine Pierce’s poetry world, the girls are ‘bird cries.’ I think these poems are bird cries, lovely and sad. Pierce knows that we lovely and sad humans are built of want and the memory of want. Each of us is a ‘river burst into flame.’ Read these poems and you will remember how to burn.”
—Sherman Alexie

“Who is this strong, compelling, peculiar voice that we follow so gladly into realms of the unknown? This beautifully constructed book offers all the pleasures of travel, but the places we travel to here are ones only Catherine Pierce could guide us to, for we live alternate lives, romp with the protagonists of childhood books, traipse through the world of nightmares where for once the creatures are sleeping so we can lie down with the lion. The big themes here—self identity, desire, escape—are illuminated with clarity, scored musically, and enlivened with wit. The Girls of Peculiar is a fabulous book.” —Beth Ann Fennelly


FAMOUS LAST WORDS (Saturnalia 2008)
winner of the 2007 Saturnalia Poetry Prize

“Catherine Pierce gets to the conundrum of language; we want to believe what it says and we don’t believe it. She understands our need to tell tall stories, to exaggerate and embellish, to become figures that we are not, but wish to be. Her empathy for the abject in us is always riddled with humor, self-mocking, sharp, and, at times, painful. Recognizing that words can be both a solace and an accuser, Pierce walks that tightrope with grace.”
— John Yau, judge

“With a marvelously open-hearted candor, Catherine Pierce troubles both the past and future — the homelands of her lyric art — as much as she summons them into life. ‘Be kind to old photographs,’ one poem tells us, ‘but not overly kind.’ Where other poets are flip, she’s seriously playful; where other poets are timid, she’s determined to engage the particulars behind which experience hides. Even more remarkably, the poems in this collection somehow manage to sing the way their subjects think, and the tone of that voice enlightens everything it touches.”
—Sherod Santos

“Catherine Pierce has written an exhilarating book, one that rewards its lucky reader with intelligence and lyric grace and dance-hall, crushed corsage swing. A pure delight.” Lynne McMahon

ANIMALS OF HABIT (Kent State 2004)
winner of the Wick Chapbook Competition

“In ‘Love Poem to the Phrase Let’s Get Coffee,’ Catherine Pierce writes ‘I adore / your elegant manner, / one hand on the car door, / the other on the ass.’ She writes with her own tricky elegance, one that acknowledges yet adores language’s self-serving grace. Pierce deftly blends repetition with sophisticated syntax, and a sinister wit glows inside the emotional wisdom of her vision. Animals of Habit is an exhilarating book.”—Andrew Hudgins

“If I didn’t know the poet personally, I’d think the name Catherine Pierce was a pseudonym, for these poems are not merely edgy, they are razor-sharp—they disembowel. What an extraordinary command of structure, persona, and humor this poet has! In one fell swoop, she has re-invented the ‘love’ poem and eschewed both pretentiousness and the anti-intellectual by being always smart and entertaining.”—Kathy Fagan