Just Received: Never a Note Forfeit by Catherine Staples

It was a good mail day yesterday. In addition to receiving some stuff from Amazon I ordered for my basement project, I found the chapbook, Never a Note Forfeit, by Catherine Staples. This collection was one of the co-winners of the 2010 Seven Kitchens Press Keystone Prize, selected by Betsy Sholl.

While I hadn’t remembered hearing of Staples before, it turns out we were featured in the same issue of Apiary a year or so ago.  Her poem in that issue is the first poem in this collection–and it’s a stunner:

The deer are skittish

grace, just faltering

prayers leaping away.

I love her imagery, but it’s her dexterity that most strikes me. Her line breaks, enjambment and sonics show her complete control of the her poems’ pace and stride. It’s as if each poem has it’s own unique gait you can sense, a subtle, but palpable music:

Cicadas rise stepwise

a sweet racket

that hums and rises.

I’m only about halfway through the book, and the second presidential debate is tonight, so I probably won’t get back to the book until later this week, but I’m really looking forward to it. Staples is a fellow Pennsylvanian from the greater Philadelphia area, so I hope to catch her at a reading sometime soon.

Check it out here.

A poem by Catherine Staples at Cortland Review here.

More about her here.

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