Catherine Carter


421 Coulter Building, Department of English Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723

Author's Bio

Catherine Carter grew up in rural tidewater Maryland, raised by a master gardener and a biologist, and her quirky, accessible lyrics reflect those influences.  Sensory and musical, the poems hurl threads across the chasms separating traditional binaries—human and nonhuman, lyric and narrative, science and magic, black lives and blue.  Their subjects range from dowsers and liver spots to the mysteries of two-seater outhouses and “our lady of the bagels.”  Fred Chappell wrote of The Swamp Monster at Home that Carter “treats the sometimes scary material she addresses with poise and wit, humor and frankness. Her self-possession is not armor plate; she is as vulnerable as you or I, as the deer that come to drink at the darkest river.”

Carter is the author of several poetry collections, including Larvae of the Nearest Stars (LSU Press, 2019), The Swamp Monster at Home (LSU Press, 2012), The Memory of Gills (LSU Press, 2007, and Marks of the Witch (Jacar Press, 2013.) She is a professor of English at Western Carolina University, a poetry editor for Cider Press Review, and the Jackson County regional representative for the North Carolina Writers’ Network (NCWN). 

Carter’s poetry has won the North Carolina Literary Review’s James Applewhite Prize, the NC Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke-Chowan Award, the NCWN’s Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, Jacar Press’ chapbook contest, Still: The Journal’s poetry prize, and the NC Poetry Society’s poet laureate’s prize; it has also appeared in Best American Poetry 2009, Orion, Poetry, Ecotone, Tar River Poetry, Cortland Review, and Ploughshares, among othersShe lives in Cullowhee with her spouse, Brian Gastle.


Publications & Prizes

Larvae of the Nearest Stars (Louisiana State University Press, 2019)
The Swamp Monster at Home (Louisiana State University Press, 2012)
The Memory of Gills (Louisiana State University Press, 2007)
Marks of the Witch (Jacar Press, 2014)
Prizes won: 

The North Carolina Literary Review's James Applewhite Poetry Prize for "Womb-Room", Summer 2018 (judge:  Amber Flora Thomas)
Jacar Press Chapbook Prize for Marks of the Witch, 2014 (judge:  Joseph Millar)
Still:  The Journal's annual poetry prize for "Wooly Adelgid", 2013
The North Carolina Poetry Society's Poet Laureate's Award for "Day of the Dead", 2012 (judge:  Joseph Bathanti)
The North Carolina Literary and Historical Society's Roanoke-Chowan Award for The Memory of Gills, 2007
The North Carolina Writers' Network's Randall Jarrell Award for "Toast", 2009
"The Book of Steve" selected for inclusion in Best American Poets 2009 (judge:  David Wagoner)

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Ursula K. Le Guin, Lucille Clifton, Barbara Crooker, Thomas Lux, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Sarah Orne Jewett, Zora Neale Hurston, Pablo Neruda, Robert Morgan.

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Prefers to work with: 
Adults, Naturalists/Environmentalists, Teachers, Teenagers
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Easton, Maryland, MD
Raised in: 
Greensboro, MD
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jul 16, 2019