Catherine Pierce

Catherine Pierce


Co-Director of Creative Writing


2506 Lee Hall
Department of English
P.O. Box E
Mississippi State, MS 39762


  • 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


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 (2020), 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 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. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize winner and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. She joined the faculty at Mississippi State in 2007.



Danger DaysDanger Days
2020, 88 pages.
ISBN 978-1947817203

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

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

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


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

Selected Recent Publications

  • “All 21 of Mississippi’s Beaches Are Closed Because of Toxic Algae.” The Nation (Sept. 21/28, 2020): 34.
  • “How Becoming a Mother Is Like Space Travel.” The Nation (July 27/August 3, 2020): 36.
  • "If/When,” “Please Let It Be Aliens.” The Southern Review (Summer 2020): 401-404.
  • “Poem Written After the Supreme Court Confirmation Vote.” Pleiades 40.2: 149.
  • “Abecedarian for the Dangerous Animals,” “Fable for the Final Days.” Bennington Review Issue 8.
  • “Danger Days,” “The Horse Girls,” “Inheritance,” “Vespers,” “What We Invented.” The Missouri Review 41.4 (2019): 11-19.
  • “High Dangerous.” Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. March 1, 2019.
  • “In Praise of the Horror Movie,” “Poem for the Woods.” Copper Nickel 28 (2019): 38-40.

Professional Honors and Awards

  • 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
  • Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for Poetry (for The Girls of Peculiar), 2013
  • Inclusion in the 2011 Best American Poetry anthology

Faculty & Staff