Catherine Pierce

Catherine Pierce


  • Graduate Faculty


  • Professor


  • Co-Director of Creative Writing



  • 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

 Catherine Pierce co-directs MSU's creative writing program and teaches classes in creative writing and American literature. She is the author of four books of poems: Danger Days (Saturnalia 2020), The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia 2016), and The Girls of Peculiar (Saturnalia 2012), each of which won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry, and Famous Last Words (2008, winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize).

Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, the New York Times, American Poetry Review, the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart Prize winner and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of American Poets, she currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Mississippi. She joined the faculty at Mississippi State in 2007.


Danger Days
2020, 88 pages.
ISBN 978-1947817203

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

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

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


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

Selected Recent Publications

  • “At 42, I Consider Becoming a Zookeeper” and “The Curator of the Earth Museum Speaks of People.” American Poetry Review 51.04 (2022): 43. 
  • “Just Because the Earth Is Dying Doesn’t Mean I’ve Stopped Wanting Things.” Poetry Northwest 17.1 (2022): 8-9.
  • “Poem Not Intended to Stand in Contrast to Anything for Once.” AGNI 95 (2022): 200-201. 
  • “Probably It Will Be Summer Again.” 32 Poems 19.2 (2022): 32.
  • Reprint. “Entreaty.” Pushcart Prize XXI. Ed. Bill Henderson. New York: W.W. Norton/Pushcart Press, 2020. 110-111. 
  • “All 21 of Mississippi’s Beaches Are Closed Because of Toxic Algae.” The Nation (Sept. 21/28, 2020): 34.
  • Poet Laureate of Mississippi
  • Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship (2022)
  • Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for Poetry (for Danger Days), 2021
  • Pushcart Prize for poem “Entreaty” (orig. published in 32 Poems)
  • National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2019)
  • Pushcart Prize for poem "I Kept Getting Books About Birds" (orig. published in the Gettysburg Review), 2018
  • Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for Poetry (for The Tornado Is the World), 2017
  • Inclusion in the 2015 Best American Poetry anthology