Insectum Gravitis / Catherine Strisik


Insectum Gravitis

poems by

Catherine Strisik

ISBN: 978-1-59948-769-4, 36 pages, $12 (+ shipping)

Release Date: November 5, 2019


Catherine Strisik is co-founder/co-editor of Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art. For over 30 years she has taught poetry workshops to children and adults in Taos, New Mexico. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has been awarded grants, residencies, and scholarships from The Puffin Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center, Lakkos/Crete Artist Residency, Truchas Peaks Place, and Christ in the Desert Monastery. Insectum Gravitis is her third collection of poems. Her second book, The Mistress, won the New Mexico/Arizona Award for Poetry in 2017, and Strisik’s first book, Thousand-Cricket Song went into second printing in 2016.

“Dignity” is one of the most important connotations of the Latin word “gravitis.” Catherine Strisik in her Insectum Gravitis explores the dignity of not only the world of winged and crawling insects. In these uncanny, metamorphic parables, she also shows us how the infinitely varied dance of love and desire is a fundamental source of the dignity to be found and cherished in you and me and every living thing. ~Fred Marchant, author of Said Not Said (Graywolf Press)


“Do what we can the summer will have its flies,” wrote Emerson. In Insectum Gravitis, Cathy Strisik makes out of those flies and that heat transcendent poetry. A sequence of poems that offers pleasures far deeper than those of science or story, her sly and witty book offers a vision of a relationship: brief, intense, and as complicated as an insect’s compound eyes—which, unlike ours, can see every direction. ~Natasha Sajé


Insectum Gravitis is haunted by the missing, by the spaces between, by anticipation and longing, the subtleties of transparency, and the dangers of allowing intimacy into our lives. An intensely human, deeply emotional view weaves through this collection ostensibly focusing on invertebrates. Catherine Strisik’s language is stark, compelling. It resonates with wonder and variety, and inevitably leads us from the immediate to the beyond. This is a gorgeous, powerful collection. It will lift you. ~Robert Okaji



I am naked against
this stone
canyon meaning
the poverty
and generosity of stars
my craves
now silver now
mica now
to the tilt
of my
he has no syllables
no sounds
no sigh for.





Because this time I’ll step through
the lens through
its murk through
its oh is this what love is
through the buzz
of mosquito hawks
their spun lace legs skimming above
the pond’s surface where
their vision keen in midflight catches
me without landing consumes
me in midflight as if this is
oh love as if this is
oh yes.



To the Great Black Wasp


My god my god are you this
so strikingly narrow
the constriction between
my thorax and abdomen
your summertime nectar
my summertime thread-
thin waist are you
smoky-black and shining
with iridescence tongue
folded lengthwise arms
down my back
are you
am I
can I be
your primrose
flagrant and splendid?


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