Poems

“Catherine Carter’s poems are Big Dipper fishhooks.”

—Sarah Lindsay, author of Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower



Sample Poems

Over a hundred of my poems have appeared in peer-reviewed journals (both in print and online). The following poems are available online through their respective publications. Please consider supporting these journals:

Spouse, Assembling Honey Frames
from Larvae of the Nearest Stars

I can keep, or fail to keep, the honeybees. Can bring them
water, fresh frames to hold the freight
of nectar, condensed and fanned to heavy honey.
Can bear them sugar, re-stack them after storm.
Can wade into the hum of the swarm to make
a desperate split, to keep the bees home. Can
mourn them when they weaken, when they die,
can bite back panic when they pierce the veil,
can take the hot hair-wire of the sting,
the sick shiver of the spreading venom.

But I can’t build. Power tools stalk me with death
in their red eyes, saws cant their paired teeth
up toward my foot, nails twist awry. It’s he,
who never wanted bees, who builds the hives,
the boxes with their corners clean and square,
the lightwood frames around the slender screens
of wax foundation, wax the bees will shape
into cells and fill with honey, a drop
for every ten thousand blooms stroked
and ravished, almost too sweet to bear.

He does what he always has: checks
the details, trues up the ends, fits the pins
and staples, drives the tacks, secures
the fragile frames made to store blackberry
blossom, ephemeral clover, the sticky syrup
of tulip poplar, sourwood’s buttery gold–
summer’s distillation of the marriage
of bee and nectary, performed anew each time
in endlessly repeated celebration
to hold the great, astounding weight
of all earth’s mortal sweetness. And they will.


Media

Book launch (during pandemic) for Larvae of the Nearest Stars, hosted by Red Headed Stepchild. Poems include “Disaster Walking,” “Late to the Party,” “Billy Collins Pours Me a Beer,” “Seining the Parking Lot,” and others. (38 mins)
“Ode: Anus” RHINO, Spring 2020 (5 mins)

Poetry Honors and Awards

  • “Choptank Bluegills Take Part in the Creation of the World”
    Winner of the inaugural Western NC Regional Poetry Contest, staged by the Caldwell Arts Council
  • “Womb-room”
    James Applewhite Poetry Contest Winner, North Carolina Literary Review, summer 2018, judged by Amber Flora Thomas.
  • “Billy Collins Pours Me a Beer”
    Third Place, James Applewhite Poetry Contest, North Carolina Literary Review, summer 2017.
  • “First Witch”
    Third Place, Asheville Poetry Review’s William Matthews Contest, Summer 2016. (Judge: Joy Harjo)
  • Marks of the Witch
    Winner of Jacar Press’ annual chapbook contest, July 2014.
  • “Day of the Dead”
    North Carolina Poetry Society’s Poet Laureate Award, Spring 2014. Appeared in Pinesong (the Society’s journal), May 2014. (Judge: Joseph Bathanti)
  • “Woolly Adelgid”
    First Place in Still: The Journal poetry contest, Fall 2013.
  • “The Young”
    Second Place, William Matthews Poetry Prize, Asheville Poetry Review; spring 2012 (Judge: David Wagoner.)
  • “Toast”
    Randall Jarrell Award, North Carolina Writers’ Network, June 2009. 
  • “Adam and Steve”
    Selected for Best American Poetry 2009.
  • North Carolina Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke-Chowan Award, Fall 2007.
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