“At once polished, wild, and bewitching, this provocative collection reads like a stack of saved secret letters. Here, Catherine Pritchard Childress has drawn back the curtains of the inner sanctums of the religious South and borne witness to the extraordinary complexity, the largess, of ostensibly small lives. These poems disrupt, they trouble patriarchal waters, and they ask two things: What really happens to women who dissent, and are you strong enough to wonder?” —Shawna Kay Rodenberg, author of Kin: A Memoir
EastOver Press is proud to announce the publication of Outside the Frame, a collection of poems by Catherine Pritchard Childress.
In Outside the Frame, Pritchard Childress gives full-throated voice to those who are historically silenced, while bearing witness to a complex culture that both perpetuates that silence and cries out to be heard and to be seen.
Seeking to subvert tradition in the pursuit of truth, these poems move seamlessly between worlds—the biblical and the contemporary, the mythical and the uncomfortably real. The speakers here reflect not the poet, but any woman, all women, from Lot’s wife to housewife—unnamed, unheard, yet unrelenting.
Whether set in ancient history or contemporary Appalachia, these poems at once rage and sing, disrupt and reconcile. Accessible and thought-provoking, Outside the Frame is a book of light and dark, of strong voices and wide-ranging perspectives. These poems will linger in the reader’s mind long after the last page has been turned.
“Outside the Frame is a book of women’s voices, some singing, some crying, and some raging at cruel fate, all of them searching for ‘evidence/that we stood together in paradise.’ These poems pursue the truths that transcend time and place, that bind us together in the experiences of love, heartache, and attunement that matter most in life. I rarely have read a new volume of poetry that moves me as much as this one does, a book that makes me immediately think of other poets I need to share it with, how I will teach it in my classes, and what I can learn from it to enlarge my own work. Outside the Frame may be a debut collection of poems, but Pritchard Childress ingrains it with the wisdom and heart of many lifetimes closely studied, deeply felt, and masterfully rendered. Once read, these wonderful poems will not be forgotten.” —Jesse Graves, author of Merciful Days
“While many of these poems are set explicitly in the Appalachian South, it is terrain that Plath or Sexton would recognize. With humor, sensitivity, and sometimes rage, Pritchard Childress transforms old (and young) wives’ tales into a volume of lyrical lives of domestically marginalized saints and s(p)inners.” —Maria Dahvana Headley, author of Beowulf: A New Translation
“‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there,’ says Rumi. So the poems in Outside the Frame find rhythms of care and judgement. Catherine Pritchard Childress sings them into women’s songs, humans’ songs, bound to place and tradition, but not to time. These are songs of attention. She gathers them here for release.” —Leah Naomi Green, author of The More Extravagant Feast
“Outside the Frame is a compelling accounting of the life of a woman bursting from her skin, pushing back against constant attempts at restraint, at expectations that inhibit her…These poems are not angry, cynical, sneering, or petty; the voice is wise and generous. But the message is very clear: she will not become a ‘roadside field burned to dry dust’ by this world, and the world is better for it.” —Rita Sims Quillen, author of Some Notes You Hold
“What I love in this collection is the intersection of home and belief, of innocence and experience. The poems in Outside the Frame stray between wound and wonder, observed from the ‘cloister’ of the blue ridge where the speaker is at once a child and a mother, where persona and the personal are intertwined in the confrontation of trauma and beauty. Hymns and rock-n-roll are equally sacred in these poems as Pritchard Childress turns her ear toward the music found in the everyday of family and in the myths that sustain us. Ultimately, these poems complicate the notion of rurality as simple or isolated and offer up a wish to bind each of us, ‘Let pared heart bear no bruise nor scar.'” —Matthew Wimberley, author of Daniel Boone’s Window
Pritchard Childress lives in the shadow of Roan Mountain in East Tennessee. She teaches writing and literature at Lees-McRae College. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review, The Cape Rock, Appalachian Review, Still: The Journal, Stoneboat, and drafthorse among other journals, and have been anthologized in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volumes VI and VII: Tennessee and North Carolina, and Women Speak, Volumes VII and VIII. She is the author of the poetry collection Other (Finishing Line Press, 2015).