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Comments about Pupa:

Pupa, Catherine Graham's first book length collection has much to recommend it. Graham has the haiku sensibility: not the Orientally measured form which, in English, can appeal only to the eye, but the talent for the evocative image succinctly expressed� Her best work is at once brief, yet resonant�the sophistication of their brevity, remind me of Roethke.

The second section, Pupa, groups poems variously around "doll"�Graham also reminds us of the way we use our dolls: their life is one we make, we tell our secrets, vent our angers upon them or pretend they worry or anger as we do, and use them to image or understand the grownup world. But dolls, we recall, are mute, imprisoned; their life is only in our imagination. Our first babies, they have dead eyes.

Imago, the third section of the book, represents the adult, the winged poet, emerged into sexual and social maturity�The last poem of the section, "Imago", represents the energy of emergence, refigures the basic moth/butterfly image of the book, and, placed where it is, celebrates the emergence of poetry.

                —from The Fiddlehead — M. Travis Lane

Young poet Graham's Pupa is a debut collection of graceful concision and surprising wisdom�The 15 short poems in the section Pupa imagine a strange, haunting netherworld of dolls, and the concluding Imago section completes the poet's work with the exhilarating, self-birthing, final words:

      Pump in air, escape the crippling
      Drain of red. It's time, it's time.
      Dew receives meconium.
      Dawn the quite. Imago. Up.

                —from the Times-Colonist (Victoria, B.C.) — Joseph Blake

Like Dalton, Catherine Graham tends toward concision and careful attention to sound, though she's more circumspect in approach and more sardonic in attitude The poems in Pupa, her first collection, are spiky little meditations so taut and tightly controlled they are almost claustrophobic�The poems' effect is all the more intense as a result. As she puts it in one passage, "Grief is like waiting for fifty / giant black kettles to boil."

Graham started publishing her poetry in British and Irish journals and anthologies, so she's probably better known overseas than here. This impressive collection should put her on the Canlit map.

                —from The Toronto Star— Barbara Carey

—— All excerpts are taken from For more criticism, see here.

Catherine Graham's works copyright © to the author.

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