Mississippi Poet Laureate Catherine Pierce Adds Honors with New State Poetry Prize
Contact Person: Sam Kealhofer
STARKVILLE – Mississippi poet laureate Catherine Pierce adds another accolade to her distinguished list of honors.
Mississippi State English teacher receives 2021 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award for her book “Danger Days,” a collection of poems about the beauty of the world and the destruction caused by climate change .
Co-director of the university’s Creative Writing Program, Pierce said it was “an honor” that her book was recognized by MIAL.
The organization presents annual awards to creative people who contribute to the fields of art, music and literature, and will host a joint celebration of the 2020 and 2021 award winners on June 12 at Pass Christian. To learn more, visit https://www.ms-arts-letters.org/winners.html.
“I am delighted and grateful. It’s especially heartwarming to know that these poems, written in the quiet of my office or late at night when my family was asleep, can resonate and connect with readers, ”said Pierce.
Published late last year by Saturnalia Books, Pierce’s “Danger Days” calls on readers to “see the world as it is in the 21st century,” Pierce said. While writing the book, she said she envisions her role as both a mother and a writer, the melting of the world’s glaciers and the rise of gun violence in America.
Pierce also received a 2020 Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Artist Fellowship for his poetry, a 2020 Pushcart Prize for his poem “Entreaty” and a 2018 Pushcart Prize for his poem “I Kept Getting Books about Birds”.
A native of Delaware, Pierce received a 2019 Creation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Pierce’s 2019 poem “How Becoming a Mother Is Like Space Travel” was published in The Nation magazine, considered the oldest continuously-printed weekly in the United States.
Pierce is the author of three other books of poetry. These include “The Tornado is the World” (Saturnalia 2016), winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award 2017 and a National Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation in 2015; “The Girls of Peculiar” (Saturnalia 2012), winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award 2013; and “Famous Last Words” (Saturnalia 2008), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize.
His book “Animals of Habit” was published in 2004 by Kent State University Press. His poems have also appeared in The Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, Slate, Boston Review, and The Cincinnati Review, among many other publications.
Pierce received a BA from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, an MA from Ohio State University, and a PhD from the University of Missouri.
To learn more about her work, visit www.catherinepierce.net.
Part of the College of Arts and Sciences, learn more about MSU’s English Department at www.english.msstate.edu and on Facebook and Twitter @MSStateEnglish.
MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at www.msstate.edu.