Praise for Sister Satellite:
"In its emotional and intellectual candor, and creative wisdom, Sister Satellite merits as wide a readership as possible and Cofell deserves some kind of literary award for having written it." Mark Zimmerman
It will be a cliché to say so, but it will be no less true: Cathryn Cofell’s Sister Satellite is the portrait of a woman, not Henry James’s “Lady” but a woman ... “girl as woman as mayfly, impossible” | “a triangle with unequal sides” | “face down inside my toilet” | breasts like “skipping stones ... smooth as porch rails, sweet as pearl onions” | “a $5 for everything rummage sale box” | “the ratty gray parka / shell of me with the gorgeous inner girl” | “whose brain [is] a blowtorch, eyes lit like emergency / bulbs in a blackout” | “woman as guardian angel, as fire.” Cofell’s language is sometimes enigmatic but always meaningful, energy-filled and magnetic, “gasoline ... flame” tempered by the light of a “glowing moon.” Brilliant.
—Vince Gotera, Editor, North American Review
With six chapbooks already to her credit, Cathryn Cofell presents her first full-length collection, and it's wonderful. Sister Satellite has sass and snap, a fresh and entertaining voice, but it also wields a sharp edge, cutting deeper as it goes deeper. Sharper and deeper. Frankly feminist, Cofell's energetic, unconventional poems tell hard truths with wit and wide-open eyes. Every woman should read this book. So should every man.
—Kelly Cherry, author of The Retreats of Thought: Poems
Cofell's speaker crosses the territory of the body and the territory of home in broad contrails across the sky. And though the lessons of past loves and past pain found here return in tidal script, they are true lessons, read like the stars in the sky, and even misread like the one satellite which the mind thinks is a star as it passes from this hemisphere to the next. Though the paths from our pasts may not be clear, what is certain is that the language of Cofell's debut collection shimmers in amplitudes of love. With lines that brighten like "sugar-lit toddlers" leaping in a multi-colored plastic ball pit, the poems in this collection dazzle and hum. They will stay in your mind's orbit long after. –Oliver de la Paz, author of Requiem for the Orchard
Praise for Split Personality:
The poems of Split Personality are carefully crafted free verse with lots of sounds to sink into--fun, and sometimes dazzling, word paintings. Both Huston and Cofell excel at this kind of poem, and their joint effort is not less than the sum of its parts.
Excerpt from "Red Miss Takes, or A Little Pink In Your Cover/Color Scheme" by Wendy Vardaman,
visit Verse Wisconsin for the complete essay/review
Smart and razor-sharp, Split Personality is a surprisingly rich collection that functions both as playful erotica and a critique of our worldly culture of impulsivity and instant gratification.
from Bob Wake, visit Coffee Spew for the complete review
The anthropologist Gregory Bateson has written, "it takes two to know one…,” and this certainly applies to Karla Huston and Cathryn Cofell who write of “weighty matters,” i.e. women’s bodies and political realities. They up the ante, line-by-line, poem-by-poem, dismantling the expected and building wild poems. Their work employs a joyful gravity and a playful wisdom. Don’t let the title Split Personality fool you—Huston and Cofell have developed a highly integrated voice!
-- Denise Duhamel, author of Ka-Ching!
The most stunning feat of this collaborative collection may very well be the poets' perfect fusion of two voices into one. And how deliciously ironic that two poets should together explore the contrary ideas of doubleness and brokenness—"the chilled walls of want and need," a makeup girl and a movie star, Venus de Milo with her missing parts, a woman who uses words as weapons and also delivers a karate kick, and another woman, improbably named "Thigh," who has a twin. While Thigh sings the "blues on steroids," the poets deliver poem after poem full of "mouth wow."
-- Diane Lockward, author of What Feeds Us
From the exquisite pairing of Cathryn Cofell and Karla Huston arises an everywoman named Thigh: half “queen bed rocker,” half “queen-sized support hose,” and half-freezing for want of the fun kind of friction. Split Personality takes Thigh and chops her into a dazzling cubism: she’s the Venus de Milo, she’s “ripe / as a storm cloud,” she’s a grocery store prepackaged turkey. For once, stop trying to hold yourself together: these poems will cleave you.
-- B.J. Best, author of State Sonnets
Praise for Lip
Truth is, I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I am old enough to recall all the Beats reading with jazz -- something Kerouac or Rexroth started, or at least popularized. The problem was all the follow-ups -- so many bad poets or bad musicians or a combination of the two. The biggest failing: music that does not fit the tone of the poems, the reader. Obvious Dog does not have this problem. These guys are clearly -- obviously, dog! -- good, and maybe it is Bruce's poetic skills that give him a feel for what works with these words and this voice. And for me, the poems are the highlight. It was good to hear Cathryn's voice, sexy, sweet, and with a lightness balanced with sincerity. (An unguarded laugh at the end of one of the earlier tracks, so nice.)
- Louis McKee, author of Near Occasions of Sin and 11 other collections of poetry
It takes about five miles of biking to be given LIP, hear LIP, listen to your LIP!
Wonderful stuff folks, quite creative, real, myth, maybe and yes.
- poet Bob koshin Hanson
Praise for Tiny Little Crushes
Cofell’s writing is refreshing, fast forward, deep diving, free flowing, free for all, shocking, heartbreaking, tear jerking, hilarious, yearning, Thelma & Louise, fearless, laying there in front of you just clear and murky as life. Tiny Little Crushes is a thousand points of light that have passed through Cofell’s colored glasses and been poured out into your eyes. She is so smart, hip, fast, and real.
Charles P. Ries / Poetry Editor / Word Riot
Messy, loving, sometimes terrified--these poems squirm with emotion.
Poet Michael Kriesel
Cofell’s poems—carefully crafted and accessible—are always a delight to read with their characteristic mix of intelligence, perceptiveness & wild, raw emotion. Cofell gets it right and with style in Tiny Little Crushes when she describes what it means to be always falling in love...It’s that combined receptivity to feeling and attention to detail that makes Cofell such a splendid poet.
Wendy Vardaman / Co-Editor Verse Wisconsin
Praise for Kamikaze Commotion
Cofell ... has built a collection that orbits around narrative -- small exquisite stories chronicling
Heather Lee Schroeder, Capital Times
Now out is Kamikaze Commotion (Parallel Press, 2008), a 40 page chapbook of further journeys in the same waters [as Sweet Curdle]. Cofell is such a strong poet that this seems blessing instead of repetition. The book begins with the childhood memory of being forced to eat a hated food, in the prose piece "Five Small Spoons of Green Bean Soup" and follows with a few more "then" poems before she leaps into the waters of now: hospice, illness, obituaries, grief, the midlife of present life, all ablaze in delicious irony and without recrimination. A very good addition to the poetry shelf. Comstock Review (February 2008)
Cathryn Cofell writes poetry that is serious, witty, and smart. Confronting her alienation, she makes it clear just how many of us are standing around with her. She knows, too, that loss is not something that can be framed, put up on a wall, and viewed from a distance. Cofell is a brave poet, subtle, but sure, and doesn't hesitate to "pull the weight of our small world / back up that breathless hill." There is, after all, a lot to celebrate.
Louis McKee, author of Near Occasions of Sin
Cathryn Cofell's poems have always been expressive without apology-true confessions, secret desires, no tale too shocking to tell. Courageously, Cofell witnesses on behalf of everyone whose inner life has more dimensions than the social world can figure. In Kamikaze Commotion, this irrepressible poetry steers itself into the stone cold facts of mortality, and everything cracks open. Romance, religion, products by Revlon-nothing softens the blow. Still, we can put on some Bob Marley and go for a drive, scouting sites where grieving lovers might someday scatter our ashes. We can watch zombie movies and count the truly dead among the lucky. We can be fully in our lives and in our deaths, with passion and poise-the whole emotional pallet. Who better to show us how?
William Stobb, author of Nervous Systems
(National Poetry Series, Published by Penguin, 2007)
Praise for Sweet Curdle
Sweet Curdle is one of those rarities in contemporary poetry— a book that's virtually impossible to put down, every bit as mesmerizing as a well-plotted novel. Each poem in this beautifully crafted collection compels the reader to flip to the next as you accompany Cofell from one personal but utterly recognizable life experience to another: from the despair of childlessness, for example, to the complex joys and apprehensions of adoption; from love's strained dependencies to its richly realized physical passions; from the gorgeous throwaway recklessness of youth to the careful self-examinations of mid-life. Consistently engaging, Sweet Curdle becomes genuinely irresistible whenever Cofell's subtle wit--always nearby--comes out to play.
former Wisconsin Poet Laureate Marilyn Taylor
Finding a distinctive voice in poetry is a rarity, given how so much written seems an imitation of something seen so many times before. Reading Cathryn Cofell's Sweet Curdle, however, reveals immediately the sense of someone without pretense writing about real human concerns, using the art of poetry to engage the reader with her singular and perceptive sensibility. This collection contains poems of intense longing and love, a physical response to the world that is compelling, an offering of poems defined by power and grace, rewarding the reader with transformative glimpses of beauty and necessity.
Poet & UW-Whitewater Professor Dale Ritterbusch
Cathryn Cofell has written a beautiful and bloody collection of poetry about being a woman, mother and lover. The poems here scream authenticity; the language is evocative, and at times arresting. Highly recommended.
Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update http://dougholder.blogspot.com/