The poems in Michael Catherwood’s Projector cast a brilliant light on a working-class family’s close-knit past: “no one dead yet, no one crazy,/ no one drunk, no one alone,/no one lost, no one/ leaving, no one but us/ in the Nebraska dusk,/ the infinite promise of time.” Catherwood’s limitless empathy—for those close to him as well as strangers—informs every line of these poems, bringing the balm of grace to pain, transforming grief to illumination, granting understanding to poet and reader.
–––John Hennessy, author of Coney Island Pilgrims and Poetry Editor of The Common


Projector is like a home movie showing us crystalline images of what gets left out of the American Dream—here we have homemade Go-Karts, wig stores set on fire, and dive bars filled with Shriner hats, one-armed Vets, and a bum with a toothache who gets his tooth pulled between stanzas.  At times, elegiac, at times wry, at times celebratory, Catherwood’s a master at finding both the meaning and the music in everyday situations. His graceful triolets, prose poems, dramatic monologues, and sonnets are nuanced and informed.  Projector is a marvelous book.
––Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi and author of Tender Hooks and
    Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

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