July 8, 2010

Catherine Meng

Catherine Meng [USA]
1975

Catherine Meng was born in Teaneck, New Jersey and raised in Newton, Massachusetts.

She received her B.A. in Creative Writing from the College of Santa Fe, a certificate in Culinary Arts from Boston University, and her M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Montana, Missoula.

She has resided in Berkeley, California for the past nine years and presently works at a local restaurant. With Lauren Levin and Jared Stanley she co-edits the poetry journal Mrs. Maybe.

Meng's poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Carve, Crowd, Combo, The Boston Review, Fence, Fulcrum, Jubilat, Shampoo, and Slope.

Her first collection of poems, Tonight's the Night was published in 2007 by Apostrophe Books. She also has three chapbooks: 15 Poems in Set of Five, Dokument, and Lost Notebook w/ Letters to Deer.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Tonight's the Night (Apostrophe Books, 2007)


Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
2005-2006


The Circle of the Fifths


The works tastes overwhelmed, like alert palms flanking a full highway.

How you find the grit later in your mouth & wake into

your own enormity. How the work takes an unexpected amount of right turns

that run into the darkness & peter out under abandoned bridges.


To the Massachusetts from which I come, my brother-county racked by cobblestones

that left me sprained, I leave my brain

infused with slick bottom stones where three rivers converge. Men in hip-boots

pull breaching trout from the surface.


The work is as barbarous as bookends. Waterspouts deviated by a tough wind,

as if we could jump up into our wings, hold a pitch to the point of ownership

& scatter as sure as light.


Though I was willingly broken by the grandeur, I made not one exception,

too taken by a trumpet taking stabs at Gershwin, the faults & repeats passing

in on a breeze. Yet I was often awakened by a horrid kind of surprise

into my primary image (a small brook that borders a deaf school).


Having worked a summer holiday for belladonna, I thought my sight was proof.

I believed all the endings curved into the choirmaster’s slender fingers

which formed a closed circle against the darkened faces of the crowd.

Yet I stared at a map for a year & could only remember the colors of countries.


The work followed me like the carcasses of roadkill I counted while passing

through Colorado. Two days in, the toll mounted to unhumorous heights. 284

was lifted from the asphalt by a hawk just before the grille of the car. The work

was like that, both skyward and lifeless.


_____
Reprinted from Boston Review, XXX, no. 6 (November/December 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Catherine Meng.

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