catherine jagoe photoCatherine Jagoe
has a PhD in Spanish Literature from the University of Cambridge, England, and works as a translator. Recently she has had poems published online by qarrtsiluni, diode, and Driftwood Review, and she has work forthcoming in North American Review and Comstock Review. Poems from her chapbook Casting Off have been featured on Garrison Keillor's show The Writer’s Almanac and on the Poetry Daily website. She is a member of Lake Effect, a group of Madison poets that includes Alison Townsend, Robin Chapman, Susan Elbe, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Marilyn Annucci and Margaret Robords. She received an Honorable Mention in the Council for Wisconsin Writers' Lorine Niedecker contest in 2010 and was a finalist in the Midwest Writing Center's 2010 poetry contest.

Catherine can be contacted at (608) 238-4858 or


Casting Off (Parallel Press, 2007)
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Solstice under Snow

December guttering almost to the wick.
The houses shawled, the shrubs white sheaves,
and phantom knives ranged neatly on the eaves.
At pewter dusk, a giant low is wending
east towards us, bearing more snow.
You kiss me goodnight, retire to read
by lamp-light, sip molten peat.
Waking warm in night’s long deep,
furled in our feather bed, I know
the snow’s slow silt is drifting down,
sifting the buildings with silence up to the sills.
Our house is shingled tight.
Lulled on the steady swell and ebb,
the softly breaking waves of breath—
yours, mine, the cat’s—I feel
a coal shift somewhere, suddenly,
and flare, a sudden blaze
of glad to be your kith and kin,
spliced, hitched, in this for life.

Atlanta Review,
Volume XVII, Issue 1, Fall/Winter 2010

•  •  •  •  •

In the Heartland

It is homecoming season, Ironman season,
wasp and Concord grape season.
Seed-head season for turkeyfoot and little bluestem,
season of dying black-eyed Susans.
Katydids’ season to rasp like hooligans with wooden rattles.
Gourd and beet season, hip and haw,
hickory and walnut, muskmelon and mushroom.
Starlings’ season to mill in the burning bush,
swallows’ to witter on telephone wires.
Season of rot and wither and drop,
topple and windfall, riot and wishbones, drab and flame,
season of apples and honey, awe and atonement,
sun-wane and night-spill, last times.
It is squirreling season, no-see-'um season,
season of grubs and peeling, canker and worm,
boarding up and closing down, silent summerhouses,
storm windows and choked gutters, screen storing, rakes and piles,
season of soups and cider, Nyquil, fleece and fingerless gloves,
season of disguises, of dread, decay, decline,
ripe and relinquish, scour and rage, hog-fattening and whetting,
of falling silent, turning in, closing doors,
of knuckles, ebb and resignation.
It is red-osier dogwood fruiting season,
season of striped woolly bears on roads.
Aster and clotted snakeroot floweret season, silk
of milkweed glistening, split pods, muskrat prints
paddled from mire to boardwalk through the cattails,
corn mazes and cranberries, school buses,
whistle blasts on fields and chants and teams drilling,
stadiums roaring like rising jets, like gales
on the grasslands’ deep-throated, inland sea.

The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review,
vol. xx, no. 3, Fall 2010