Catherine Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. A former English and writing teacher, she now teaches part time, facilitates a local writers’ group and spends winters on the Space Coast of Florida. Her poetry and prose have been published in various journals online and in print. Recent work appears or will soon appear in The Timberline Review, Naugatuck River Review, Boston Literary Magazine and Sugared Water. Her chapbooks are: Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press, 2014) and Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press, 2015). She recently completed a full-length book of poetry and short prose, Forged 1955: Girl.
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On Catherine’s nightstand . . .
David Mitchell’s Slade House (a surreal, spooky story), Matthew Dickman’s award-winning collection of poetry, All-American Poem (he’s breaking my heart), Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara because years ago I lent this little treasure to someone, never got it back and recently found a copy in an eclectic, new bookstore in Rosendale, NY, Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd and the June fiction issue of The New Yorker.
Print or ebook?
I’m more likely to buy a print book over an ebook. I love the smell, feel and intimacy of reading a book in hand, up close, margins-marked, dog eared and mine.
What’s your favorite bookstore?
I have several favorite bookstores locally: Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY, The Golden Notebook in Woodstock and the brand new Postmark Books in Rosendale. My all-time favorite is The Elliot Bay Book Store in Seattle, but I don’t get out there much.
What book made the biggest impression on you as a kid?
As a kid, I was thrilled by Dr. Seuss and Grimm’s fairytales; later, I devoured the Nancy Drew Mysteries.
Who’s your muse? Who or what inspires you?
“Word Angels,” as I remember Sharon Olds once calling them, are my muses. They are transcendent, travel in all dimensions and come in stillness, astute awareness, gut experiences and in my desperate need for them, for language. Whenever they come around, I try to stop and write or at least, to listen.
Besides writing, what’s your passion?
Passions besides writing? Yoga, eagles, wildlife, human life, all the people I love.