Thirty Years of Cardinals Calling

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About the Book

The cardinal has long been a spiritual symbol, one of messages sent by divine power, and much lore surrounds this iconic, vibrant bird whose colors and voice evoke emotion, memories and meaning. Thirty Years of Cardinals Calling represents all the cardinal embodies, alongside Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt’s past thirty years of publishing poetry. These poems capture the author’s longing for something beautiful, lasting, transcendent through every stage of life. The pieces include those from journals, magazines and books, many of which have been recognized regionally and nationally.

"In Thirty Years of Cardinals Calling, Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt contemplates how to live in a world we don’t recognize. Her poems make connections between earth and beyond, life and death, bird and human–a chasm lessened by creatures of beauty and symbolism like cardinals. She witnesses change over time in nature, in people, in relationships, in love, in health, even in dealing with an unexpected pandemic, and she finds refuge in home, in family, in art, in nature. As she faces a reckoning with mortality, Katherine reminds us that art making, poetry have the potential to outlive us, as she learned from her grandfather’s published words. Katherine writes, '...if anyone knows the trouble you feel, it’s the songwriters, musicians, making it real.' I’d like to add the poets. Katherine’s words are real and express how we feel." -Cathy Hailey, Award-Winning Poet and Creative Writing Educator

Non-profit Give Back Prince William and local schools have partnered with Gotthardt to bring this book and no-cost presentations to the classroom. Octo, an IT firm in the government contracting space, has partnered with Katherine to bring this book and poetry writing workshops to HOPE Project DC. By donating copies of the book and offering free workshops to students with fewer opportunities to explore creative writing, Gotthardt hopes to help youth learn to use their writing voice as a mechanism of powerful, positive self-expression.

“In my own youth, I discovered writing poetry was a way I could make sense of the world and say the things I needed to say that I couldn’t verbally,” Gotthardt says. “Writing poetry was a release, an amazing channel for pent up emotion and conflicting thoughts that often threatened to overwhelm me. Poetry still helps me to this day. It is a way to synthesize ideas and perceptions artistically and be heard. I want our youth especially to understand there’s a different way to tell the world what it needs to hear.”

The book is divided into thematic sections. From creating art to mothering to aging, Gotthardt explores life’s changes, delving into the imagery that connects one person to another, one person to the world. Readers will continue to hear the songs of these poems, the calling of the cardinal, for decades to come.

Kim B Miller, Poet Laureate of Prince William County, Manassas & Manassas Park, Virginia (2020-2022)

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt’s poems are like a symphony of imagery. She takes you on a poetic journey. Her pen envelops wisdom and strength. Come inhale these beautiful words.

Rebecca Barnes, Publisher, Prince William Living

Rhythmic, accessible, thought-provoking, these poems have breathed insight and inspiration into a world desperately needing something beyond itself, better than itself. Throughout her career, Katherine Gotthardt has offered readers a glimpse of what poetry makes possible – belief, beauty, strength and the worthiness of living a life made meaningful.

JoAnn Lord Koff, Award-Winning Author and Photographer

Gotthardt connects the dots of our own lives within her poetry. You feel as though you are present in her raw revelations about love, motherhood, luck, hope, trust, to name a few. She is honest, brave and optimistic. There’s a profound wisdom in her extraordinary words and tantalizing images.

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