I have long been a fan of the fine work of Cathy Smith Bowers and was delighted when our poetry editor Tom Lombardo selected her work to feature in this issue. The body of her work expresses such a fresh and yet intuitive sensibility. In fact, I think what I admire most about Cathy’s work is the fact that it contains–nay, embodies!–so many logical contradictions. Her poems surprise, even as they make perfect sense. They are innocent yet full of wisdom. They make you want to cry even as they give you hope in humanity.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the poems we featured in this issue, I highly recommend checking out Groceries and Learning How to Pray (which took my breath away the first time I heard her read it). Also be sure to read J. Stephen Rhodes insightful review of her most recent (and fabulous) book of selected poems: Like Shining from Shook Foil, published by Press 53.
And, I am happy to report, that Cathy is not only a fine poet but a kind and generous individual. Fred Leebron once called her “The beating heart of the Queens MFA program.” In her role as North Carolina Poet Laureate, she has said that one of her main goals is to make poetry accessible to those who are not computer savvy, so she made time to appear once a month on an Asheville radio station. Her poems have been published and appreciated widely, from The Atlantic Monthly to The Kenyon Review. In addition to her book of selected poems, she has written four other wonderful collections of poetry: The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas; Traveling in Time of Danger; A Book of Minutes and The Candle I Hold Up to See You.
And, finally, so you can see the woman in action and get your own sense of her magic, here are two excellent YouTube videos of Cathy reading from her work: