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The Swamp Monster at Home


80 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations


  Paperback / 9780807142806 / February 2012

In Catherine Carter’s The Swamp Monster at Home, classical sirens sing from a Chesapeake Bay island; Adam and his lover, Steve, share beers in Eden; and a Norse goddess strides into an emergency room, “glowing like grain.” With quirky imagination and wry humor, Carter exposes the connections between human and nonhuman, blood and home. 

Building from The Memory of Gills, Carter’s debut collection and winner of the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, these vivid and tender poems consider the immanent and sometimes animistic natural world. The Swamp Monster at Home, however, takes new risks, offering a deeper vulnerability and greater maturity; this new collection acknowledges the loves within and outside of marriage and confesses to both the grief and relief of miscarriage. Varied in form, The Swamp Monster at Home offers accessible and rewarding, elegiac yet hopeful poems—an exciting new collection from a remarkable writer.

Catherine Carter is the author of The Memory of Gills, winner of the 2007 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Best American Poetry 2009, Orion, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She is native to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and now directs the English Education program at Western Carolina University.

Advance Praise for The Swamp Monster at Home

The Swamp Monster at Home is a most valuable collection of poems. Catherine Carter treats the sometimes scary materials she addresses with poise and wit, humor and frankness. Her self-possession is not armor plate; she is as vulnerable as you and I, as the deer that come to drink at the darkest river. She speaks with the kind of grace that is gained only after facing daunting difficulties with resolute courage. I admire everything about this book. Everything.”—Fred Chappell

“Catherine Carter possesses a wide and ample talent, and that talent is on full display in this stunning new collection. She has an ear worthy of the old Welsh bards, as in the lines ‘Ribbed as a workboat’s close-lapped strakes, / six splayed claws clasping the frond where it crawled,’ and she seamlessly shifts from form to free verse. Poems of droll humor are balanced with poems of profound grief. Carter shows us the world anew, as if, as she says in the opening poem, ‘time dawned / into the ticking day.’—Ron Rash

“Welcome to the domain of the swamp monster. Your guide speaks earthquake and knows ‘the whispered, crumbly words of worm.’ She never puts a foot wrong—which is not to say that you won’t be unnerved here, or startled. The next poem might be sinister, funny, mournful or all three, and when it closes, like a crow’s beak, or a roof nailed onto a house, it may neatly catch almost anything.”—Sarah Lindsay

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