Catharine Savage Brosman, who now lives in Houston, is professor emerita of French at Tulane University. She is the author of numerous books of French literary history and criticism, two volumes of nonfiction prose, and seven collections of poetry, including most recently Range of Light and Breakwater. (Author photo by Eleanor Beebe)
Always spirited and elegant, by turns witty and meditative, Catharine Savage Brosman’s Under the Pergola contemplates Louisiana, past and present, before traveling a broader path that crosses Colorado landscapes and the island of Sicily.
In her eighth collection of poems, Brosman evokes the Pelican State’s trees, birds, rivers, swamps, bayous, New Orleans scenes, historic houses, and colorful characters. She also recounts, in free verse, formal verse, and one prose poem, the “misdeeds of Katrina” as she and others experienced them.
Other poems range widely, from reflections on writers Samuel Johnson, Paul Claudel, André Malraux, and James Dickey, to quiet meditations on the American West, Odysseus, fruits and vegetables, and the recent “light years” of the poet’s life—which she characterizes as “silken … slipping smoothly off” like a gown.
"Brosman is one of the great metaphysical poets of our time and place ... When she is writing of a storm coming over the river from Algiers or of music she is hearing on Bayou Bonfouca her gift is always to yoke the real to the ineffable."
"Moving with equal delicacy among Louisiana's urban landscapes, swamps, and marshlands, she joins the eartly and the unearthly.... Like the food she describes so lovingly in her verse, Under the Pergola offers a feast to mind and body."
Louisiana State University Press