Put Flowers Around Us and Pretend We're Dead: New and Selected Poems
April 18, 2023
172 Pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-63-3
Put Flowers Around Us and Pretend We’re Dead is a beautiful collection of Catherine Graham’s award-winning poetry. Spanning twenty years of writing these poems trace Graham’s arc from ARC Poetry Magazine’s initial observation that “Graham is a young poet whose work should be closely attended to” to the Toronto Star writing “Catherine Graham’s seventh book of poetry is an intricate reverie.” Poems within this collection circle around profound themes, including family, healing, loss and love, but they are written with a delight in the natural world, a delicate line and ethereal imagery. Here, birds are gathered in bouquets, a ghost is a fold in the mind and the snow holds light. Put Flowers Around Us and Pretend We’re Dead is a must-have volume from a much-loved poet.
“These poems are so good, so well constructed and finely tuned they seem to come from a timeless place, one rich with myth, both classical and newly imagined, yet within and underneath the words there’s the sound of a watch ticking, ticking. This is a book to keep by your bedside, to read when you dream and when you awaken. The poems will disturb, they will shatter, they will mend. They do what a poem in these troubled times can do.”
– Lorna Crozier, author of God of Shadows and What the Soul Doesn’t Want
Adventurize Your Summer by Chris Pannell and put flowers around us and pretend we’re dead by Catherine Graham (James Street North/Buckrider, 2023) (Catherine Owen, Marrow Reviews, 24/07/2023)
"The main delights of this compilation [...] are some of her new poems. Many poets leap all over the place in subject matter, but Graham remains in her mystical quarry of magical, tragic and transcending images, plumbing ever more intensely in order to draw up new nuggets that shine."
PUT FLOWERS AROUND US AND PRETEND WE’RE DEAD: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS BY CATHERINE GRAHAM (Michael Greenstein, The Miramichi Reader, 03/07/2023)
"Flora and fauna suffuse Graham’s poetry from hatched bird to seed, bloom, roots, leaf, and petal. Silence rearranges sound and is a kind of flight.... All of Graham’s creatures bound and scurry from the page between lines and around the sounds of stanzas."
Put Flowers Around Us and Pretend We're Dead: New and Selected Poems (Barb Carey, the Toronto Star, 29/04/2023)
"[Catherine's] poems are often enigmatic, dreamlike scenarios whose imagery echoes fairy tales or mythology. [...] Packed with resonant phrasing."
New collection showcases Catherine Graham’s consistent poetics (Steven W. Beattie, Quill & Quire, April 2023)
A wonderful review of Catherine's latest poetry collection.
Writer's Block: Catherine Graham (All Lit Up, 15/05/2023)
"The therapist suggested I keep a journal to write out what I was feeling. Journaling one day, while thinking about the water-filled limestone quarry I grew up beside, I started playing with words — images, rhythms and silence. When I stopped writing, I knew something transformative had happened."
46 Canadian poetry collections to watch for in spring 2023 (CBC Books, 03/03/2023)
It's great to see Catherine on this list from CBC.
Catherine Graham is a poet, novelist and creative writing instructor. She is the author of six acclaimed poetry collections, including The Celery Forest, a CBC Best Book of the Year and finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and CAA Poetry Award and her debut novel, Quarry, was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and Fred Kerner Book Award and won the Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Award and an Independent Publisher Book Awards’ gold medal for Fiction. She holds an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University (UK). Her poems have been translated into Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Bangla, Chinese and Spanish and have appeared in The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, Glasgow Review of Books, Exile Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Poetry Daily, Poetry Ireland, Gutter Magazine and have been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster, anthologized in The White Page / An Bhileag Bhan: Twentieth Century Irish Women Poets and The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol IV & V. A finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, she has won the Arc Award of Awesomeness and her poems have been nominated for the 2020 National Magazine Award by Exile Magazine. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. A previous winner of the Toronto International Festival of Authors’ Poetry NOW, she leads their monthly book club and is also an interviewer for By the Lake Book Club. Visit her online at www.catherinegraham.com and @catgrahampoet.
Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric (2021)
The Celery Forest (2017)