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Psyche
Poems by
Casey Catherine Moore

Anxiety Press
Forthcoming Summer 2024

Psyche reshapes Greco-Roman mythology for contemporary readers as it traces an erotic femme’s journey of self-discovery and heroism. Casey Catherine Moore’s main character in Psyche cycles through the depths and heights of moods, madness, sex, and gender, and throughout her hero’s journey, Psyche creates a symphony from the many sounds and songs inside her soul and body. The poems draw inspiration from Ovid, Catullus, Hesiod, Homer, and Apuleius, as mythical deities and the natural world lead Psyche through her search for sturdiness to find her “bumblebees’ grounded stillness in the hive within.”

Cover Image: “Psyche in Her Depths”

© Shyama R. Kuver | Heart Over Crown

About the Author

Casey Catherine Moore (she/her) is a bipolar, bisexual poet, writing coach, and educator. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina, where her research focused on Latin poetry, invective, and gender studies. Casey’s current work as a poet, performer, teaching artist, and writing coach centers gender, sexuality, and dis/ability and can be found in various academic and creative publications. Casey founded the queer and neurodivergent open mic series Electric Euphoria, co-produces and co-hosts the queer poetry/comedy series Homo Stanzas, and hosts open mics at Busboys and Poets at the Brookland location in Washington, D.C. Casey draws inspiration from the madness and beauty within herself, those she works with, and all the glorious complexity in nature and all around us.

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Praise for Psyche

“If Mary Oliver dwelled in the Pantheon of Mount Olympus, she would be Casey Catherine Moore. Every poem moves with an erotic pulse. Allow yourself to be seduced by a voice that can turn a tumultuous self and the femme hero’s journey into a story that is unapologetically sexy and fierce. Like Psyche, Casey Catherine Moore embodies the pain of a divided psyche and unrequited love with resilience, plucking the lyre in lyricism. Ultimately, Psyche is the book we need during these tumultuous times because if we listen to the birds, trees, and bees, we can survive the atrocities and bring out the empathetic diva inside us.”    

 

—Regie Cabico

Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Poetry Slam Champion

Author of A Rabbit in Search of a Rolex (2023)

 

“Erudite, emotionally adept, and engaging: what Casey Catherine Moore has created in Psyche is more than a dazzling debut poetry collection. This is skilled scholarship, proficient psychological analysis, and a portrait of a virtuoso in action. Perfect for use in college classrooms discussing literature, ancient philosophy, psychology, and mental health, as well as in therapeutic settings and community centers, Psyche reveals an interior space that “is beyond where theory meets the Symbolic, / that is all the poetry we write together.” Drawing from Ancient Greek and Roman myth, trauma-informed theory and practice, and nuanced understandings of gender, sexuality, and identity, Psyche is a guidebook for all who search for meaning, struggle with mental illness, and strive to be understood and accepted for the full inclusion of who we are. As she writes,

 

Now: I fuse my split self back together

and find my bumblebees’ grounded stillness in the hive within

the beginning, mineral water, and poetry.

 

In a world where diversity is used as a weapon of othering that leads to violence, Psyche recenters the poetic self as the original source of healing.”

 

—Cassie Premo Steele, PhD

Author of Beaver Girl (2023)

 

“It is a marvelous thing when a poet finds her voice. Casey Catherine Moore’s Psyche is a startlingly original and deft book of poetry. Deeply intimate and profoundly Classical, filled with raw emotion and erotic power, Moore has complete control over her medium. The lines are sure and powerful, the stanzas sturdy and well-built. These poems ring with an intensity Catullus would have admired. Casey Catherine Moore is part H. D., part Sylvia Plath, with a dash of Ginsberg. You will read this collection in one go and then want to read it again. From “Sing, O’ Muse, / the Madness of Psyche—of fires and floods— / and the glimpses of sturdiness / in between” to “I am Ceres, a grain grounded in between them, / rooted, / buried, / planted, / sprouting // in wet earth, / water, / warmth, / and stone.”

 

—Paul Allen Miller, PhD

Author of Theory Does Not Exist:

Comparative Ancient & Modern Explorations in Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis & Rhetoric (2024)

Author of Rhetoric and Foucault’s Seminars on Antiquity: Learning to Speak the Truth (2021)

Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina

Distinguished Guest Professor of English, Ewha Womans University

 

“In Psyche, Casey Catherine Moore deploys the titular figure from ancient mythology as a mask, a mirror, and also a window into a world of imaginative possibility and of personal reckoning. “Psyche” as mask allows the poet to take on a complex “other” persona through whom to sound out her own intertwined psychic, emotional, and personal journeys; “Psyche” as mirror enables the poet to reflect on those journeys, in deeply confessional and revealing moments into which she courageously invites her reader(s); and “Psyche” as window empowers the poet to show us the newly possible worlds that only she could imagine as her journeys unfold. Moore’s heroic verse cycle beautifully calibrates new modes of lyric reflection and narrative relation to bring her readers into those most intimate spaces of her personally experienced, and our collectively shared, poetic pasts. And, most beautifully, and justly, the writing “soul” of this Psyche ultimately finds her sturdy rootedness in finally embracing herself as “mad” psyche, and “queer” eros, and “femme” corpus.

 

—Ricardo L. Ortiz, PhD

Author of Cultural Erotics in Cuban America (2007) and Latinx Literature Now (2019) 

Professor of Latinx Literature and Culture

Director of the MA Program in Engaged and Public Humanities
Georgetown University

 

 “Psyche is a poetic journey to inner peace found through facing the turmoil of our deepest and most impulsive intrusions. Casey Catherine Moore’s words serve as a voice for all the clashing things that bang inside us. Her poetry allows us to see ourselves as wondrous, tumultuous beings, finding harmony in the cacophonies of the mental health journey and, ultimately, the human experience.”

 

—Micah the Poet

Author of Things No One Else Wants to Say (2020)

 

 “Casey Catherine Moore’s Psyche cycles through a series of compelling contradictions, simulating the circuitous path towards self-discovery of the poet’s own psyche. Moore guides her reader—much as her Classical Muses guide her—through these seeming incongruities as Psyche plumbs the depths and heights of her psychical and sexual suffering and delight. What this reader appreciates most is how deeply embodied Psyche is in the physical world. The microcosmic world of her body (tears, sweat, heartbeat, breath, bones, flesh) mirrors and is influenced by the macrocosmic world of the earth (birds, bees, snakes, trees, winds, seas). As Psyche navigates the seasonal and climactic changes of the natural world, she also learns to brave the storms of her emotional world and the perils and pleasures of relationships, ultimately arriving at the foundational realization that the most important relationship one can craft is with oneself. The poet accomplishes this by studying and practicing the creative process. As Psyche writes to Catullus, “Your poems remind me where I begin and where I am going, / a sacred place on the mural.” Thank you, Casey Catherine Moore, for showing us the perennial truths of ancient wisdom. Psyche is “silky, sexy, subversive language, / dripping in orange embers / of Classical candlelight fused / with new-aged electricity buzzing underneath.” 

 

—Kelly Peebles, PhD

Associate Professor of French at Clemson University

 

 “In Psyche, Casey Catherine Moore’s inner moods shape the outer worlds she’s mapping via earthy verses. Her reshapings of Roman myth give a fresh contemporary relevancy to familiar figures and forgotten fables that, even now, refuse to freeze in marble.”

 

—Drew Pisarra

Author of Fassbinder: His Movies, My Poems (2024)

 

“As an artist diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the path to self-acceptance and understanding in the face of societal norms can be an excruciating uphill battle. In Psyche, Casey Catherine Moore fearlessly bares her vulnerabilities, proving to herself and the world that she deserves acceptance and understanding while encouraging others to do the same. Through a heartfelt and unique blend of mental health reflections and tender poetry, Casey’s words offer a diagnosis of the human condition that we all need. Psyche is a testament to resilience and strength, making it a compelling and essential read.”

 

—Chris Thomas

Author of Reclamation (2023)

 

“In Psyche, Moore deftly navigates an expansive tradition of Greco-Roman myth in what is, at heart, a journey of self-discovery. Her verse sparkles with wit and poignancy. The poet has sketched the contours of the Psyche myth while coloring inside the lines with a palpably individual experience of mental illness. While addressing a bipolar, psychic condition on one level, the poems also excavate the paradoxes and contradictions of being a human, embodied subject, granting the collection a deeply universal appeal.”

 

—Hunter H. Gardner, PhD

Professor of Classics, University of South Carolina

Author of Pestilence and the Body Politic (2019) and Gendering Time in Augustan Love Elegy (2013)

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