Praise for If You Turned Around Quickly:

The book title expresses its aesthetic. Its poems present arresting images, incisive economies of diction. Seeming fragments leap from contexts to startle us. Our lives' often imponderable patterns blaze up in sudden unforgettable insights, disorders clarify-- even if briefly--crystallize. "I pedal a hot curve of asphalt/ ... glide under sprinklers" captures an essence of childhood. An amazingly intricate villanelle builds through complexities to yield this irrefutable truth: "We are what we sought." 

--Greg KuzmaOnly the Dead are Forgiven


If You Turned Around Quickly is a volume of sharp observations in well-crafted poems, where time is a major player, moving them both physically and emotionally, and where head-and tail-lights are “Always/ the traffic to remind/ us we breathe.” Catherwood makes imaginative use of form, repetition and rhyme, transforming cars, trash cans, shopping malls, bars, box cars, gravel roads and gritty asphalt into engaging poems that “…bluff/ my bones until they’re stunned/ into the dance….

--Twyla M. Hansen, Nebraska State Poet Laureate, Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet

 

If you’re in the mood for pastoral melodies, look elsewhere. These poems are played in a minor key, with both power and finesse. They’re about entropy and mortality, observed mainly in a part of the blue-collar Midwest where bars function as retreats from a hardscrabble existence. But beneath the grimness, a muted beauty abides. Thanks to Catherwood’s artistry and passion, If You Turned Around Quickly offers compelling music about haunted lives in a haunted landscape

--William Trowbridge, Poet Laureate of Missouri.


Praise for Dare:

It's been awhile since I've read a collection of poems as authentic, disciplined, well-crafted and moving as Mike Catherwood's new book Dare like a good hunting knife, the steel in these poems performs its operations with refinement and a necessary brutality, lifting the skin from everything Catherwood lays hands on. — Erin Belieu, 1994 winner of the National Poetry Series for Infanta, selected by Hayden Carruth.  


The first collection of poems by a man who has been around the block: rough-edged working class poems. — from the publisher


Somewhere in 
Dare, an old man heads out with his "honest-to-God bindle-stick" bouncing on his shoulder. On the way, there's a cement Christ with no more blood to bleed on the Interstate Highway. This is not far from a Ramada Inn with a lounge where the color red is religion, and the poet feels safe at the bar, studying "the brave choreography." Closer to home is a cat named Baudelaire whose eyes could scare time. Michael Catherwood has caught countless such images speaking for themselves as metaphors of the deep interiors in the interior of America. Speaking for himself, he tries to accept "the business of our breath" enough to keep doing it. The achievement of these poems is itself enough to keep wanting more of them. 
— Michael Heffernan, The Odor of Sanctity