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Cover for the empty season

the empty season

Catherine Bresner


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Catherine Bresner’s the empty season is an exquisite collection that comprises poetry, collage, illustration, and song. Her poems not only boldly challenge the ways that we as readers understand mental illness, femininity, cultural artifacts, and identity, but they interrogate the ways we understand the language of poetry altogether.

In her artist statement, Bresner writes, “When I create a poetry comic, I am writing from a place that is essentially ekphrasis in reverse. Typically, I will write a poem first and create a comic that complicates the first reading of that poem. I believe that the best poetry comics are ones that use images that are as mysterious as the language of poetry. Duplication is deadweight. Therefore, I like for a tension between word and image to exist, especially if metaphors are used. While I have illustrated comics in the past, digital collage seems well suited for the poems that I write. Just as I didn’t create language as a medium for poems, I didn’t create the images I collage together either. I am reminded of Jean-Luc Godard’s words, “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.” I always try to take my poetry comics to a place of instability, evocation, and conundrum.”

Snarky, bawdy, and tender, Bresner’s hybrid poetry collection is a starling first book.

Praise For the empty season

Catherine Bresner’s first collection the empty season is a formally audacious, dexterous, and heart/filled book of bravery and strange. Head-butting the strictures that surround a traditional poem she collapses the collage, the erasure, the illustration, musical notation, the hyperlink, and the high lyric. One piece opens “Write, they say, like a band-aid / when writing feels like the wound.” and these poems perform both functions, the wound and the suture. This is a beautiful book.

— sam sax

Beautiful and imagistic, the empty season feels as if it is being written in real time, with its contemporary ear and relevant sorrows. Indeed, this is a book of the times. The strong voice in these poems and poetry comics is innovative, fresh, sincere, and maybe most importantly, has an intelligent curiosity. “Today the chore of being alive” is what I feel when I look at these poems: gorgeous collage, illustration, language—that is the music that keeps me going as a reader. It is delicious to read and see this book in the world.

— Bianca Stone

Catherine Bresner brings a freshly savvy vision to the conditions of modern life—to our broken intimacies with others, to our alienation from our own best selves, and to our impaired commitments to civic wholeness. Dark in its whimsy and subversive in its truth-telling, the empty season is full of a kind of Baudelairean spleen, bitter and exuberant at the same time. As one of Bresner’s speakers declares: “How knowledge can be a euphemism / for wreckage, as in I will wreck you.” That’s a fair—and most welcome—warning from a vivid new ironist in our poetry.

— Rick Barot

Diode Editions, 9781939728210, 96pp.

Publication Date: March 7, 2018

About the Author

Catherine Bresner’s poetry has appeared in The Offing, Heavy Feather Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Passages North, The Pinch, Handsome, and elsewhere. She has worked as the coordinating editor for The Seattle Review and as a publicity assistant for Wave Books. Currently, she is the managing editor for BOAAT Press and the associate production editor for Kirkus Reviews. You can find her work at