Paperback Price: $13.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1882295456

Selected Poem

From Journal

6jan01, flying west

yesterday a year ago was the last time my sister spoke to her children
isn't it homeopathic, the ocean now?
dilutions of her first daughter diluted
into not-penance-but-ocean-now
the could-have-beens!
the sparkling house

28jan01, my sister's house, Seattle

so what are we to make of the whole disappearing?
but there are still the girls' books and notes and keychains lit with dust,
and dust is just skin so I wonder—
are they here in the dust
in the paper this morning—
a partial list of what-was-found
in two days they're burying all unidentified remains
into a common grave
my mother is trying to paint again
the bird outside the window doesn't take off but gets caught in the branches
and the sky's all tangled, too, reluctant to get bright
even claire's hair is getting light

Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced

“Catherine Barnett’s indelible first book, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced, has a long fore-life and comes to us as a work of full maturity. . . . Barnett’s poems are scrupulously restrained and beautifully made, though the speaker in them is at times wild and even crazed with feeling, unappeased by sorrow.”
—Edward Hirsch in The Washington Post

“Catherine Barnett’s book records what is an essential human dignity enacted. In a way that only poetry could have done it, this book makes you understand that everything is secondary to love.”
—Robert Wrigley

“The book reaches no final conclusion or healing, in fact it almost says nothing bigger than ‘. . .I see it’s not all gray’ in the final poem, ‘River’. But it manages to document real emotion and the workings of the human mind in a clever, uncontrived and genuinely surprising way which is quietly innovative and new.”
Stride Magazine

“These heart-breaking poems of an all too human life stay as absolute as the determined craft which made them. There is finally neither irony nor simple despair in what they record. Rather, it is the far deeper response of witness, of recognizing what must be acknowledged and of having the courage and the care to say so.”
—Robert Creeley

“If death could be undone by love—that deathless human wish—if death could be undone by formidable mindfulness and immaculate craft, these poems would revive the dead. The miracle they do work is nearly of that scale: they forge, and forge on our behalf, a model of the soul.”
—Linda Gregerson

“In Catherine Barnett’s exquisite collection, profound grief and courage find their enactment in essential poems. This is work of the highest integrity, generous and luminous. Barnett’s lines are honed in the service of a truth which remains unknown—to use the words of Jaime Sabines, ‘everything happens in silence/the way light is made in the eye.’”
—Dennis Nurkse

“Catherine Barnett has written here a very extraordinary ‘first book’: a tactful, restrained, passionate study of grief, almost a novel in its telling/singing of one heartbreaking story. Its classical, egoless voice will be company to many in these (any) dark days. I close the book still hearing the lost girls ask come with us— come with us—.”
—Jean Valentine


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