Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Saturday, April 27, 2019

New Book!

My new collection of poetry, Pointing Home, is now available at Kelsay Books and

 Pointing Home consists of sixty poems (plus an additional one on the back cover) and ten English translations of Uruguayan women poets whose lives span the past one hundred years.

In the back cover testimonial, award-winning poet Ned Balbo writes:

Catherine Chander's Pointing Home offers a poignant look back at words too rich, and richly painful, to be forgotten. At its center stands the marvelous sonnet sequence "Madison Street" which remembers and restores the vibrant yet troubled community of a Pennsylvania neighborhood caught and transformed by time. Through characters as quirkily authentic as those who populate Spoon River, Chandler traces the entangled lives of "Boomers from a lost millennium" through love, sorrow, and tragedy, her narrative compass as unfailing as her metrical facility. 

Elsewhere, Chandler looks toward the broader world beyond -- a world where families cross the Canadian border under cover of night, and the gunfire of Sandy Hook recalls the names of children whose duck-and-cover drills reflect the fears that define an era. Chandler's multilayered translations of Uruguayan poets, her acute ekphrastic sequence on paintings by Edward Hopper, and her elegy for poet Timothy Murphy are but a few of the treasures in abook notable for its formal command, deep empathy, and leavening wit. Again and again, Chandler proves herself a master who deftly "parses the wild syllable of why."

My previous works, Lines of Flight, This Sweet Order, Glad and Sorry Seasons, and The Frangible Hour are available on Amazon HERE.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


The news about the first photograph of a black hole reminded me of my villanelle, "Multiverse", first published in Think: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, and Reviews, Spring 2017, Volume 7.2.

The poem will appear in my forthcoming book, Pointing Home (Kelsay Books, 2019). Here is the explanatory note:

Multiverse. George F. R. Ellis, philosopher and cosmologist, remains skeptical of the existence of the multiverse. Nevertheless, he writes: Parallel universes may or may not exist; the case is unproved. We are going to have to live with that uncertainty.— from “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?”, Scientific American (August 2011). Beth Davidson was a childhood friend of John Lennon and the inspiration for the line about the pretty nurse in the song Penny Lane. Beth Davidson went on to marry John’s best friend, Pete Shotton, and she remained a member of the Beatles’ close circle of friends until her death from cancer at the age of thirty-five.


i.m. Beth Davidson Shotton

And though she feels as if she’s in a play,
she is anyway.―John Lennon, Penny Lane

The pretty nurse in Penny Lane is dead.
She played her part until the curtain fell.
Or is her troupe booked somewhere else instead?

Although those notes are earworms in my head—
the trumpet solo and the engine bell—
the pretty nurse in Penny Lane is dead.

The barber and the banker long since fled
the roundabout. The fireman as well.
Can they be working somewhere else instead?

The neighborhood’s a tourist trap, it’s said;
no poppies like the ones she used to sell.
The pretty nurse in Penny Lane is dead.

Or is she? Maybe we have been misled,
and other Penny Lanes spin, parallel,
in quantum time, to other tunes instead.

I’m clinging to one final, chronon shred
of hope. As far as anyone can tell,
the pretty nurse in Penny Lane is dead,
and may be living somewhere else instead.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New SoundCloud Recording

The garden at Steepletop

I've just added a new SoundCloud recording of my sonnet, "The Frangible Hour", the lead-off poem in my Richard Wilbur Award-winning collection of the same name.

You can listen to it HERE.