Etching the Ghost

Atmosphere Press, 2021

Poet and painter Cathleen Cohen artfully paints a compelling sequence of scenes and portraits encompassing joy, freedom, violence, trauma, and the challenge of facing mortality: one's own as well as that of lost or faltering beloveds. In Cohen's skillful hands, poems become an occasion for questioning - "How long will we last / as witness, as echo?" - and for cherishing what the speaker tries to "... hold then release / into brushstrokes." Cohen vividly depicts a search for healing and wholeness, promising, "If air shatters / into fault lines and shards / I will reach / to collect what flies out / and give voice." Cohen's book deftly weaves a multifaceted tapestry of lived experiences through poems that will break your heart and stir your soul.

- Dilruba Ahmed, author of Bring Now the Angel

In Etching the Ghost, Cathleen Cohen presents painting as a lens and an instrument, a way to view life and make meaning. This collection explores the images that accompany one painter while she makes art, teaches and raises family. Violence also speaks through these poems. But painting (like poetry) is also a vessel which can hold trauma as it is absorbed and transformed.