Deer Love by Catherine Arra


Deer Love is a collection of twenty poems about the spiritual bond and relationship forged between a woman and a female deer whom the poet named Forest. The poems celebrate their special love and illustrate the kind of growth and transformation to be found in the human-animal connection. Arra’s sensitive and beautifully crafted poems foster an awareness of the silent, sentient, soulful animals with which we coexist and how often they are at our mercy to survive. Her graceful way with language mirrors the grace of Forest and encourages us to reconnect with the natural world, instinct, and ourselves as an integral part of that whole—to be good stewards of the earth and all its creatures.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 54
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: April, 2021
  • ISBN: 978-1-953252-25-8


Every once in a while, you pick up a book and you can’t put it down. This happened the evening I decided I’d just read a poem or two in Catherine Arra’s Deer Love to get a feel for it before really diving in the next day. Not wanting to be a spoiler, I won’t tell you my specific reaction when I finished. I will tell you that I couldn’t stop reading. I will tell you the wonderfully wrought poems in Deer Love tell a story neither you nor I are likely to forget. —Matthew J. Spireng

A sweet, beautifully written narrative about the life and seasons of a pack of wild deer who come to accept the poet as one of their own. She gives them apples and corn; in return, they venture near and offer her “the gift of transcendence, the miracle of empathy.” For me, each poem was like seeing the face of God close up. I absolutely loved this book. —Robin Stratton

Most nature writers are observers. Catherine Arra is part of nature. Her encounters with the deer in her backyard are more than simple observations. They are human-to-animal exchanges in which Arra and the animals learn to communicate with each other. Her sensitivity encourages Forest, the first deer she encounters, to trust Arra beyond its own fear of people through the simple medium of an apple. Arra’s poignant relationship with Forest and the other deer offers a glimpse into the dangerous existence in which wild animals live. Deer Love is a book for lovers: lovers of poetry, lovers of deer and other animals, and lovers of a writer who has shared her big heart with us. She has also shared a generous number of photographs of her “friends.” —Zvi A. Sesling


Ode to Forest

—as if you slip between
folded time, slants of light, a traveler, messenger
you appear & wait. Your moon-pool eyes

swim me in milky-earth brown, & then
a single beam of soul fire, just below Betty Boop lashes, beckons.
I swear I hear my name.

Sweet young doe, spirit animal, mine,
you came in early spring, alone—an open slash on your right flank
& though wounded

you tender-eyed, ear-hugged, wet-nosed nodded me
to stop, stay, see—to meet you beyond the wood, the wild
& whirling of planets. You offered me passage

taught me to match breath, heartbeats, read nuance & gesture.
I named you Forest. You named me Tree.
I gave you an apple. You gave me root.


Catherine ArraCatherine Arra is a former high school English and writing teacher. Since leaving the classroom in 2012, her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous literary journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. She is the author of Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press, 2020, (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and three chapbooks, Tales of Intrigue & Plumage (FutureCycle Press, 2017), Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press, 2015), and Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press, 2014). Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she lives most of the year, teaches part-time, and facilitates local writing groups. In winters she migrates to the Space Coast of Florida. Find her at:

Additional information

Weight 4.2 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in