Catherine Pierce,
Associate Professor &
Co-Director of Creative Writing

2310 Lee Hall
Department of English
P.O. Box E
Mississippi State, MS   39762

Catherine Pierce

Professional Bio

Catherine Pierce co-directs MSU's creative writing program, and teaches classes in creative writing and American literature. She is the author of three books of poems: The Tornado Is the World (2016), The Girls of Peculiar (2012), and Famous Last Words (2008, winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize), all from Saturnalia Books. Both The Tornado Is the World and The Girls of Peculiar won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Best American PoetryAmerican Poetry Review, Slate, Ploughshares, Boston Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, A Public Space, FIELD, and elsewhere.She joined the faculty at Mississippi State in 2007.


Ph.D., University of Missouri, 2007
M.F.A., The Ohio State University, 2003
B.A., Susquehanna University, 2000

Teaching Interests:

Creative Writing, poetry
20th and 21st Century American literature

Recent Courses:



The Tornado is the World
The Tornado Is the World
2016, 80 pp.
ISBN 978-0996220668



Girls of PeculiarThe Girls of Peculiar
2012, 80 pp.
ISBN 978-0983368625



Famous Last Words


Famous Last Words
2008, 80 pp.
ISBN 0-97549-907-6



Animals of Habit


Animals of Habit

Wick Poetry Chapbook Series Three, #7
2004, 40 pp
ISBN 0-87338-805-4
Kent State University Press

Selected Recent Publications

Reprint. “Relevant Details.” The Best American Poetry 2015. Ed. Sherman Alexie. New York:  Scribner, 2015.

“Alleys,” “Disaster Work.” Copper Nickel 20 (2015): 7-10.

“The Tornado Knows Itself.” The Normal School 7.2 (2014): 80.

“On the Worst Days of the Fever.” Colorado Review 41.1 (2014): 134-135.

“The Tornado Wants a Companion.” The Cincinnati Review 10.2 (2014): 127.

“Heroines,” “Relevant Details.” Pleiades 34.1 (2014): 165-167.

Professional Honors and Awards

Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry (for The Girls of Peculiar), 2013.

Mississippi State University’s Arts and Sciences Faculty Teaching Award in the Humanities, 2013.