CH poet and resident uses grant to spread poetry
Catherine Wing has won many awards for her poetry over the years. The Cleveland Heights resident started writing when she was 8, and titled her first poem “J Is for Jello.” She wrote her first book, Bug Town, at the same age. It was a story about ants versus beetles, and how they wind up destroying each other.
“I wrote things all through childhood,” said Wing, now 44. “I wanted to be a ballet dancer more than a writer, but that became a non-option.”
Wing’s first book of poetry, Enter Invisible, was published in 2005, and was nominated for a Los Angeles Times book prize. Gin & Bleach, her second book of poetry, came out in 2012. One of her poems, “The Darker Sooner,” about autumn, was featured in Best American Poetry, 2010.
In 2016, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) named Wing a Creative Workforce Fellow, awarding her a project-based grant.
Wing’s project involves the installation of a series of poetry boxes in the Cleveland Heights area.
“I am using the Little Free Libraries as a model,” she said. “You can go to those and drop off a book or take a book. My idea is to display a poem you can read and, if you want, you can take a copy of it with you.”
Land Studio selected one of Wing’s poems, “Perk Hopscotch,” to be engraved in a central oval at Ralph J. Perk Plaza at Chester Commons at East 12th Street, in downtown Cleveland.
Wing was born in New York City, and moved with her family to Louisville, Ky., at the age of 3. She attended Brown University in Providence, R.I., and majored in English and creative writing. She then earned a master’s in fine arts at the University of Washington.
In addition to writing, Wing teaches poetry at Kent State University. She started teaching there in 2010, when she moved to Cleveland Heights. She lives on Essex Road with her husband and 4-year-old son.
“I like everything about Cleveland Heights,” Wing said. “I mean, what’s not to like? I like all of the big trees, and the people are incredibly warm and friendly. All areas of the city have an abundance of creative and interesting people, and every place is surrounded by artists.”
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley. He is on the board of FutureHeights, and is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee.