Reviews of the Newest Collection Beauty's Tattoo:
Here’s a book you will not put down. Like climbing “a fiery stairway,” or finding the unlikely “encounter between a piano and a Rothko” in a garden, like entering “Kafka’s garage” or “floating down the highway/ in a snowstorm” Cathy Colman’s stunning second poetry collection, Beauty’s Tattoo enters a place of fearlessness. Her contemporary range of topics excites the gallery of possibility, and there, emerging from a “fugitive kind” of exile, the body’s wild card is played against the mind in a kind of self-reflecting dissonance and philosophical insight that can only belong to beauty and its many incarnations. Edgy and simultaneously elegant, Colman’s language is always musically and imagistically alive like a snake at both ends: it works like consciousness overhearing itself. Beauty’s Tattoo is heartbreaking and funny. One thinks of Andre Breton’s concept of passion (Colman’s “passion like water” floods these poems and carries them far into our memory), with its wild magnificent eyes having to “mix in the human struggle” in order to be authentic, to be troubled by beauty, to be known and known again.
—Elena Karina Byrne
I’ve been an admirer of Cathy Colman’s work for over 15 years now: her intoxicating blend of stop-in-your-tracks imagery, her lettuce-crisp diction, the mixture of Eros, imagination, and longing. These new poems courageously step into the darkness and emerge with beads of light.
Although the realms of dream and desire permeate the poems in Cathy Colman’s ravishing new collection, Beauty’s Tattoo, it is the way experience itself marks us that this book so powerfully envisions. Cathy Colman shows us how living leaves the evidence of its passage along the lengthsof our bodies, both without, and within. The many poems cast as letters in this collection are emblematic of one of the book’s central ambitions—to establish a potent, rock-solid bridge of intimacy between the poet and her readers. Cathy Colman’s exquisite poems are epistles to the past, reflections upon the future, and heart-breaking meditations upon the metaphysics of daily transcendence. This is a book to treasure.
—David St. John
Reviews of Ms. Colman's Previous Release, Borrowed Dress:
" 'Why can't we be content', Cathy Colman writes, 'with the nothing that holds it all together?' These fresh and restless poems are tracings of discontent, but these are the dissatisfactions of a sensuous, lively and engaged mind worrying out a way of seeing the world. In poems of love and trouble, energy and charm, Borrowed Dress chronicles a passionate involvement with 'beautiful ruin, broken form'."
--Citation for the 2001 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, Mark Doty
"Vivid, thoughtful, scorching--Borrowed Dress speaks back to our impermanence, to the wistfulness of the past and the amnesia of the future, to the dual treasons of speech and silence, to the spaces between lovers, to the nothingness that keeps peeking through everything. Watch out, this passionate book flames in your hands and burns with a radiant light."
--Edward Hirsch, poet, Macarthur Fellow, and author of How To Read A Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry
"There is an exquisite poise to Cathy Colman's gorgeous and powerful debut collection, Borrowed Dress. Her sly humor is balanced always by her darkly illuminating candor. Here is a poet who is both discreet and delicate in her craft, yet deeply compelling and passionate in her reckonings. This is a book to treasure."
--David St. John
"A book full of surprises: I kept murmuring 'Oh my God' when reading it. Vivid and clear and almost shockingly lush, Borrowed Dress is written from the 'unholy fix we're in' with such a vitality that I believe its enterprise: 'trying to get the ineffable to talk' is on the verge of actually happening."
--Marie Howe, poet, What the Living Do and Kingdom of the Ordinary