In this, her first full-length poetry collection, Catherine French reveals an engaging curiosity about the complexities of the quotidian and a keen sensitivity to the strangeness and magic that lie within all our human experiences, from learning the shapes of the alphabet, realizing ""how they failed in that attempt to join/the physical and abstract, how each sound/fell short of the world,"" to watching the death of a horse, its ""beauty sent back/through the long funnel/to abstraction."" These are poems of rich imagery and profound psychological insight, of wry ironies and compelling truths. French is a master at turning abstract emotions and concepts into precisely realized images and actions, at finding within the metaphysical mysteries of the spiritual the small and painful human hungers that drive us all. Imaginative, powerful, poignant, and magical, these poems will surprise and delight.
Catherine French was born and raised in the Central Valley of California and currently resides in Sacramento. Her poems have appeared in The Nation, The Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, and numerous other literary journals across the United States. An earlier version of Side Show was awarded the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation for best manuscript in progress.