The Memory of Gills (Paperback)
Louisiana State University Press, 9780807131763, 59pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2006
"Carter's poems are utterly unique-wry and quiet and carrying a velvet sledgehammer. Her pitch, her tone, her sly humor is perfectly tuned. This is not just a brilliant first book, it is a brilliant book, period."-Thomas Lux Catherine Carter's first volume of poetry exudes a genuinely classical quality-cool-eyed and clear-eyed, intelligent, unsentimental, self-aware, and witty in the fullest and best sense. Carter takes our evolutionary development in the womb as a departure point for remembering or imagining our links with nonhuman animals, which make us feel both alien and alive. She writes of being "raised by wolves," that "everyone marries into another species," and of "hearing things" in the voices of the rattlesnake plantain or the apple core. With an offbeat, sometimes-gallows humor-the poems' subjects range from roadkill to stingray-human sex to a traffic ticket for avoiding toads on the road-that looks at our connections of blood, home, and exile, The Memory of Gills nonetheless speaks of hope that we belong where we are. "The Memory of Gills is altogether an astonishing, seductive, and finally irresistible book of poems. Carter is a skillful, imaginative, and witty visionary. Here is a poet who hears the voices of the sensate world calling, pleading, cajoling, and although she says, in 'Hearing Things, ' 'I don't / know how to answer, what / to say, ' don't believe her. She does know. And her poems say what she knows with a zest and inventiveness that no reader will soon forget."-Kathryn Stripling Byer.
About the Author
Catherine Carter 's poems have appeared in Poetry; North Carolina Poetry Review; Cider Press Review; and other journals. A native of the tidewater region of Maryland, she now lives in Cullowhee, North Carolina, where she is an assistant professor of English at Western Carolina University.