Book cover: Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, Catherine Graham

Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects

Catherine Graham
  • $17.00

October 2013
60 pages | ISBN 978-1-894987-76-9

**Shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award – League of Canadian Poets**
**Shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry**

In her fifth collection of poetry, Catherine Graham breaks into rich, new territory. Long recognized for the easy grace and strange beauty of her poems about grief and remembrance, in Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, she turns her thoughts toward poems of tribute and exaltation. Paying homage to the work of two inspiring poets – P. K. Page, whose long life and celebrated career have made her a legend in her native Canada, and Dorothy Molloy, an Irish poet whose life was tragically cut short just as readers were discovering the true scope of her talents – Graham has crafted an ocean-spanning book of deep feeling, good humour and hard-won solace.

From the judges of the Raymond Souster Award

"Catherine Graham is an accomplished poet with a generous and whimsical mind, whose candid poetry offers us startling insights."
"Graham's work is fresh, sophisticated and beautifully crafted. It moves easily between imagine and natural worlds, from mashed potato dolls to nipples to the Queen and Bobby Orr, in meditation and song."
"Her muscular images and sensual language are wrought in lines that are as evocative as those of her mentors Seamus Heaney, Paul Durcan and Paul Muldoon."


“Such dark and disquieting poems . . . such language: snowfall – ‘spin calm into a bleach explosion’ ‘the waves/ lap against me, sizzling white strings.’ And ‘Ceramic!’ The muse, here, is the rampaging bull in the china shop crèche: ‘and the stiff baby cries in ceramic. Now black is a crack below / blue-robed Mary who screams she’ll eat your hair with fluorescent teeth.’ Things are infused with feelings, from the turbulent depths where we are prey to all that eats at us – ‘we, walking meals for mosquitoes.’ So stringent and startling, the seamless way the borrowed images burrow and find an unsettling home.”
– Eleanor Wilner, author of The Girl with Bees in Her Hair


"Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects" (CBC Books, 16/10/2014)
"Graham's poems are sparely worded but full of evocative images that vividly convey a wide range of emotion, from passion to grief."

"Life is like a book of chocolates" (Lisa de Nikolits, Mesdames of Mayhem, 10/06/2014)
"While reading the entrancing poetry collection by Catherine Graham, Her Red Hair Rises With The Wings of Insects, I think you’d need chocolate-covered ginger, mysterious, exotic, deep, with many nuances of flavours; bittersweet, tart, memorable, teasing with the soft texture of melting chocolate, the tiny roughness of the ginger graining against your tongue, leaving a tiny sugar bead, palate satisfaction and a lingering taste of wanting more."

Review (Anne Burke, Feminist Caucus, 02/05/2014)
Anne Burke reviews and quotes from Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects.

"2014 Raymond Souster Award Nominee – Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects – Catherine Graham (Wolsak & Wynn)" (Michael Dennis, Michael Dennis, 08/04/2014)
“There is humour, wit, sensual experience, fantasy and grace in these poems.  Hard to ask for more than that.  It is also a delight to read, to recommend.”

Review (Jessica Rose, This, 01/04/2014)
“The elegant fifth collection of poetry by Catherine Graham is an experiment gone right.... A master of vivid imagery, Graham evokes all the senses, allowing readers to bask along the way in both the beauty and horror of the world.”

"Fate Rises Through the Pulp" (buecom, The Library of Pacific Tranquility, 16/02/2014)
“This was a wonderful collection to read. No doubt I will be reading it again and again.”

"Marrow Review: Bonnie Nish & Catherine Graham" (Catherine Owen, The Relentless Adventures of OCD Crow, 01/02/2014)
“The gothic, textured, ornately spare cover design is gorgeous and the experimental entrances into Dorothy Molloy’s poems are fascinating. I adore form and fiddlings with it and Graham shows what can happen when one reads a deceased poet’s work so deeply that their spirit in a sense infiltrates, shaping not only the content, but more importantly, the structure of the work.”

Review (Rayanne Doucet, Canadian Poetries, 06/01/2014)
This is no simple book of poetry. It is sensual and dark, a feast for the senses. Her grace with language is sublime.”

Review (Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading, 05/01/2014)
“The book grew exhilarating as it revealed a sly and dark call and response between the two writers [Graham and Molloy] as poem after poem unfolded.”

"Graham's fine; Greene's a master" (George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald, 28/12/2013)
“Graham’s fifth poetry collection, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, began as a deliberate experiment that turned gothic and magical.”

"Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects" (Michael Dennis, Michael Dennis Poet, 11/12/2013)
“She has the technical mastery to make the glosas disappear - what I mean is that the technique vanishes and we are left with strong, vibrant poems that aren't bridled by technique. There is humour, wit, sensual experience, fantasy and grace in these poems.  Hard to ask for more than that.  It is also a delight to read, to recommend.”

"Wolsak and Wynn and ECW Press's Fall Offerings" (Tracy Kyncl, Town Crier, 28/10/2013)
“‘Cloak’ was a very rhythmic piece that took the second-person point-of-view, a voice which seems to trouble a lot of writers, but which Graham utilized effortlessly... Graham’s poetry just seems to be getting better and better.”


"The Shaken and the Stirred – Canadian Poets Rock the UK" (Grace O'Connell, Open Book Toronto, 04/11/2015)

“Highlights include our first group reading at the Chorlton Library, such a warm, attentive crowd; reading at University of Westminster’s Fyvie Hall where Pink Floyd played their first gig and being told later that one of the students counted out all her small change as she was determined to purchase my book because she ‘wanted to get deeper into those words!’”

"Week 8 - Catherine Graham presented by Lisa de Nikolits" (Lisa de Nikolits, Brick Books, 19/02/2015)
“Catherine Graham is the über-maestro of whipping up images that startle, surprise and delight and this poem [“Peas & Barbies”] is spectacularly memorable for its intense visceral quality, its vivid, powerful and incredibly poignant imagery.”

"Snapshots" (CV2, 10/12/2014)
“The final product is subtly violent and beautifully poetic.”

"Catherine Graham Takes Top Prize at Poetry Now: 6th Annual Battle of the Bards" (Clelia Scala, Open Book Toronto, 04/04/2014)
“A jury comprising IFOA’s Director, Geoffrey E. Taylor, Artistic Associate Jen Tindall and the Dean of the Humber School of Creative and Performing Arts, Joe Kertes, selected Graham following her captivating performance.”

"Poets rock Harbourfront" (Susan G. Cole, Now Magazine, 03/04/2014)
“Catherine Graham won the competition for her strong presentation of poems riffing on grief and remembrance published in her collection Her Red Hair Raises With The Wings Of Insects.”

"Crown Island by Catherine Graham" (Steven McCabe, Poemimage, 31/03/2014)
A beautiful visual response from artist Steven McCabe to Catherine Graham's poem "Crown Island" from Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects.

"13 Favourite Poetry Books from 2013" (Kate Sutherland,, 31/01/2014)

"13 poetry favourites from 2013" (Stuart Ross, Bloggamooga, 23/12/2013)
Stuart Ross listed Catherine Graham’s Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects as one of his 13 poetry favourites from 2013.

"10 Literary Locals" (Jessica Rose, Dear Edna, 12/12/2013)
“In her recent release from Hamilton publisher Wolsak and Wynn, poet Catherine Graham experiments with an early Renaissance form of a poem known as a glosas.... The result is Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, a graceful fifth collection of poetry that pays tribute to poets P.K. Page and Dorothy Molloy."

"Winter Broccoli" (Alex Boyd, The Lonely Offices, 02/11/2013)
Alex Boyd reprinted the poem "Winter Broccoli" from Catherine Graham's Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects.

"Author Notes: Catherine Graham" (Catherine Graham, The Town Crier, 06/08/2013)
“Dorothy Molloy and P. K. Page became my spirit mentors during the writing of Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects. The book is my tribute to them.”


"Issue 2 Vol 1 Profile: Catherine Graham" (The Humber Literary Review, 20/10/2014)
“I am very affected by art, architecture, nature and landscape. Whenever I’m triggered by something in the physical word— be it an image, sound or snippet of conversation, I’ll make note of it in my writer’s notebook, the little Moleskine I keep in my purse. Later, when I have time to write, I’ll try to coax that fragment into a poem.”

"The Painterly Art of Imagery and Words" (Lisa de Nikolits, Lisa de Nikolits's blog, 18/07/2014)
“[Catherine is] an extraordinarily talented poet and teacher, and the author of the highly-acclaimed Her Red Hair Rises With the Wings of Insects. I'm fascinated by Catherine's marvellous imagery and in this interview, she gives us some insights as to what makes writing truly beautiful.”

"Six Questions with Catherine Graham: 2014 Raymond Souster Award Shortlist" (rob mclennan, rob mclennan's blog, 09/05/2014)
“In my most recent book, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, traces of grief continue but the subject matter is more wide-ranging.... The process of writing also changed—from short, spiky lyrics to longer, flowing pieces in which I play with form.”

Interview (buecom, The Library of Pacific Tranquility, 25/04/2014)
“It’s rewarding to see readers respond so favourably to the work.”

"Catherine Graham - Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects (an interview)" (The Toronto Quarterly, 17/01/2014)
“I actually didn’t find this book more demanding but it did require me to hone a different set of skills which I very much enjoyed. And when I realized the glosa format was getting in the way, I let go of the straightjacket and let each poem emerge without that constraint. It seems to me that all poems are experimental. Something that didn’t exist is brought into being.”

"Author & Mentor: An Interview with Catherine Graham" (Heidi Stock, Ottawa Life, 18/12/2013)
“I am indebted to the work of P.K. Page and Dorothy Molloy, my two spirit mentors. The book is my tribute to them.”


Click here to read the first dozen poems in Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects.


Catherine Graham reads "There is a Stir, Always" from Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects at the League of Canadian Poets awards dinner on June 7, 2014.

Catherine Graham reads her wonderful poem "Plot" from Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects at Hamilton's Workers Arts & Heritage Centre.

About the Author

Catherine Graham is the author of five acclaimed poetry collections, including Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, which was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and the CAA Award for Poetry. Winner of the International Festival of Authors' Poetry NOW competition, she teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award and at Humber College's Creative Book Publishing Program. Published internationally, she lives in Toronto. Visit her website at Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @catgrahampoet.

Other Titles by this Author

Put Flowers Around Us and Pretend We're Dead: New and Selected Poems (2023)

Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric (2021)

The Celery Forest (2017)

Quarry (2017)

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