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Catalog Archive / Fall 2024


Wisconsin Poetry Series
Sean Bishop and Jesse Lee Kercheval, Series Editors
Ronald Wallace, Founding Series Editor

“Literacy is a sensitivity to pattern. As a means of survival, we cultivate an awareness of signs and systems, learning to look back to anticipate a future. In Surveille, Caitlin Roach is a reader of omens, of the shapes hidden in shadows, recasting the hard lessons of the natural world. Born between the twin flames of Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Mary Oliver, this book is both intimate and political. A bridge between the public chaos surrounding us and the portentous silence of private life, these poems are urgent and heart-piercing. This debut challenges us to stand witness.”
—Amaud Jamaul Johnson

Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry

“It was breeding season, / wasn’t it, and they were running from something,” writes Caitlin Roach. Surveille’s queer speaker is on the cusp of motherhood, vacillating between attentiveness and paranoia, surveilling her body, civic bodies, natural and political landscapes, and the child she longs to bring into—and ultimately protect from—this hostile world.

Exploring drone strikes, scorpion eradication, bird behavior, mating deer, ICE detainees, and family relationships, Roach’s poems stare into and through the truth with a blazing intensity. She writes, “Still, I watch / the watcher watch me watch / the man standing in front of me / peering through the crosshatch / iron mesh, waiting for bodies / beloved he knows he cannot touch / to arrive on the other side.”

Surveille is a book about people under various forms of control (self-inflicted and external), about watching and being watched (by oneself, by others, by the state), about mothering, and about the desperate search for meaning in a world that feels increasingly violent and filled with despair.

Hold the husk.

Suck each bead out. There
are degrees of loss, speeds

at which pain travels
through the body. See,

even the rose neck’s bent. I do not
need to tell you I’m sick. I want to

be remembered for the absence
my body made in space.

—Excerpt from “Gardening, the mother gives her daughter a lesson on loss”


Caitlin Roach. Photo credit, Holly Stevens. Caitlin Roach is a queer poet from Southern California. Her poems have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Tin House, jubilat, The Iowa Review, Poetry Daily, Colorado Review, and Best New Poets (2023, 2021, and 2017), among other publications. She earned an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a three-time National Poetry Series finalist. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two sons.

Author's Website -




Surveille brought me down to my knees in utter awe and ache. Caitlin Roach’s striking debut collection of poems reckons with the violent intersections of the personal and political body on the brink of birth. Roach’s poetry is exacting and lush, unspooling with striking imagery as she examines the ways we watch and are watched. These brilliant poems braid and ricochet off the pastoral and deeply psychological landscapes with probing depth and exquisite diction. Each line was a whole poem to me. Each line seduced me. Each line wrecked me with surprise and a sense of implication, confronting the terrors of the world and the ailments of the body as the speaker in these poems surveys the American borders of the public and private consciousness with remarkable force and execution.”
—Tiana Clark

“Roach not only ‘queer[s] the cruelness of the world’ but also its fruiting lushness, while pinning her reader as bull’s-eye at its center. In these poems, bucks circle does, poisoned water teems with beaked fish, drones hover, and amid the ferocious glint of this marred earth, desire sings. Stunning!”
—Nomi Stone

“Roach’s fabulous debut collection, Surveille, investigates the intersections of local and global violence on the global and local body. In poems both lyrical and narrative, personal and political, Roach asks important questions about what it means to be safe in this world at this moment in history, despite (or because of) the many modes of surveillance at our disposal. Roach’s deep concern and compassion range from those targeted by unmanned drones, to threats to the natural world, to the victims of gun violence, to the well-being of friends and family, to the physical and psychological health of her children about to enter our fraught world. As I read through these wise and painful and beautiful poems, I was made aware of just how increasingly vulnerable we all are. But I was reassured by the fact that there are voices out there like Roach’s that make being in this body and in this country not just bearable but joyful. This book is a triumph.”
—Dean Rader



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Table of Contents

The Rut
The Inheritance of Intelligence
Doe after Lightning Storm
Hunter, Snow Goose, Shadow
Gardening, the Mother Gives Her Daughter a Lesson on Loss
At the Window
Witness Statement

Nine Days after the Drowning
On Christmas Eve
Out of Bounds
In the Conservatory
In Oakland Cemetery

Principles of Design [Las Vegas, Nevada]
Cancer, by Definition, Is an Abnormal Cell Growing Out of Control
American Landscape [on an American Airlines flight to Las Vegas, Nevada]
American Landscape [on the 11 bus, Albuquerque, New Mexico]
American Landscape [neighbor under wisteria on Marquette Avenue]
American Landscape [Friendship Park, San Diego, Tijuana]

Birth Story
Animal Mechanics
Birth Story
Letters to Bernadette



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November 2024
112 pp. 6 x 9

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Paper $17.95
ISBN 9780299351144
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