Catherine Pierce

poet laureate icon
Poet Laureate of Mississippi, 2021-2025

Catherine Pierce was born in Delaware. She received a BA from Susquehanna University in 2000, an MFA from Ohio State University in 2003, and a PhD from the University of Missouri in 2007.

Pierce is the author of Danger Days (Saturnalia, 2020); The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia, 2016); The Girls of Peculiar (Saturnalia, 2012), which won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Prize; and Famous Last Words (Saturnalia, 2008), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize.

Pierce is the recipient of a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Of her work, Aimee Nezhukumatathil writes, “With a jeweler’s eye and an uncanny knack for embracing devastating truths and desires, Pierce rewrites what it means to sift through wreckage of both heart and land.”

Pierce writes Poetry Break, a monthly newspaper column for the “Mississippi Books” page of the Clarion-Ledger and Hattiesburg American, and hosts the Mississippi Poetry podcast. The co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University, Pierce was appointed the poet laureate of Mississippi in 2021. In 2022, Pierce received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship