Sexual identity, female friendship, and queer experiences of love
Fraught with obsession, addiction, and unrequited love, Catherine Pond’s Fieldglass immerses us in the speaker’s transition from childhood to adulthood. A queer coming-of-age, this collection is a candid exploration of sexual identity, family dynamics, and friendships that elude easy categorization, offering insight on the ambiguous nature of identity.
Saturated by her surroundings and permeated by the emotional lives of those close to her, the speaker struggles with feelings of displacement, trauma, and separateness. She is perpetually in transit, with long drives, flights, and train rides—moving most often between the city and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. As the collection unfolds, the speaker journeys toward adulthood, risking intimacy and attempting to undo her embedded impulses toward silence and absorption.
Reflective, graceful, and understated, Pond’s images accumulate power through restraint and suggestion. Deeply personal and intense, searching and yearning, associative and lyric, Fieldglass is a confessional about growing up, loving hard, and letting go.
About the Author
Catherine Pond is a cofounder, with Julia Anna Morrison, of the online literary magazine Two Peach. For four years, she was the assistant director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, The Adroit Journal, Poetry Northwest, and Salmagundi, among others. Currently, she teaches writing at the University of Southern California.
"Pond’s scintillating debut examines family history, female friendship, geography, and sexual identity in poems of startling craft and vision. Throughout, poems accumulate and echo off one another, unveiling a distinctive and highly perceptive queer identity on the page."—Publishers Weekly
“With this single breathtaking debut, Catherine Pond has earned her place among the most powerful, visionary, and inventive poets of her generation. Her poetry, with its visceral lyric grace and nuanced modulations, recalls the work of a young Louise Glück in its naked disquiet, its sense of imagistic reflection, and its arresting beauty. Often gestural, elliptical, and devastating, Pond’s poems assemble into luminous constellations of echoing loss. Gripping Fieldglass in your hands, it is impossible ever to look away.”—David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: Selected and New Poems
“The poems in Fieldglass are astonishing in their honesty, and I devoured their fearlessness greedily. Pond charts fantasy, family, and the painful trust and powerful abandonments that teach us what love is. Concise, lyrical, and rife with compelling turns, this book brings the world close and helps you see it, helps you know it, helps you bear its truths.”—Traci Brimhall, author of Rookery and Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod
“What is the syntax of longing? The speaker of Pond’s debut collection conjures earthquakes, partial moons, and the mild lakes of her childhood. We witness the phantasmic powers of Pond’s imagination, a poet who spots horse teeth baring in the mist and feels the centrifugal pull of a sinister darkness. Amidst these dimensions of desire and apparition, Pond reveals the geography of a theatrical unconscious. Elegant and unsettling, the poems remake the reader and offer us an emotional complexity that we desperately need.”—Megan Fernandes, author of Good Boys
“At once Greek in its fatalism and, increasingly, all-American in its faith in self-determination, Fieldglass speculates its way through clouds of complex family dynamics, sexual trauma, and extreme agape in order to be beaten in the end into a depth of self-knowledge that is sister to wisdom and predawn of strength. ‘Nothing ever really breaks,’ Pond writes, ‘though force can cause a flexible object to deform.’ One of the many gifts of this brilliant collection is to remind us that deformation like this produces not necessarily a compromise to identity but, often, the fullest realization of it.”—Timothy Donnelly, author of The Problem of the Many
“Where Fieldglass stands apart from its peers […] is in Pond’s ease with retrospective narrative. Confident in themselves and in the force of the experiences they relate, these poems possess a clarity as impactful as it is rare, in first books at least; Fieldglass seems refreshingly immaculate, in other words, of the ludic, deliberately weird writing that characterizes many debuts, including some of the most celebrated.”—Preposition