It's Official!

The Garden Uprooted has been released by Slough Press!

 If you've preordered, your specially signed copy will be on its way shortly.

If you haven't, well... no worries! You can still get your hands on my first full collection of poetry!

The book is now available at:

Barnes and Noble

If you'd like a signed copy, email me at -- you'd either have to catch me on my book tour next week, or mail me a check.

So what's this book about, you might be asking. That's, truthfully, a tough question to answer, though I think I'm getting better at it now. The book is, of course, a collection of poetry that addresses different archetypes of femininity in fairy tales, mythology, and the Bible. It's about forging an identity, the roots -- place, gender, sexuality, language, and culture. And it's all set in Deep South Texas.

Anyways, that's me. But if you look on the book's back cover:

Welcome to the uprooted garden of fairy tales and pleasure. Set in Deep South Texas along the muddy banks of the Rio Grande, these poems tell the story of forging an identity. They speak to what it means to be a girl, a woman, a human being in this contested space. The landscape is always lush in flora, culture, and language. This garden is ripe with imagination and sensuality – just watch out for toads!

And if that's not enough to convince you, take a look at what my blurbers had to say:

“Ripeness is all” in these poems where mangoes, melons, and pomegranates redden and fall into the dry soil of south Texas to be eaten, to rot, or to bury their seeds. Against this lush and fertile backdrop, a clear-eyed gringa elopes on her eighteenth birthday with a Mexican native old enough to be her father, whom she envisions as catching her before she too can hit the dirt and spoil. That backstory is the only part of this collection not set in the sensual present moment, where the juices of burst fruit and kisses and the lyrical Spanish language seep into poems meant to be savored on the reader’s tongue. The Garden, Uprooted is a debut collection from a young poet to watch.”

Julie Kane, Louisiana Poet Laureate and author of Jazz Funeral and Rhythm and Booze

"With her deft, sensuous, jaunty, and vital poems Katie Hoerth makes a smart debut in The Garden Uprooted. From “How To Marry a Prince” to "Breakfast with Fur" to “Not the Sonnet You Dream Of,” the poet mixes fairy tale images with visceral descriptions in this sexy—and crafted—first book that keeps turning preconceptions inside out."

 Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden and The Second Blush

“Finding a home, putting down roots without suffering “root shock,” knowing and accepting who you are, and finding ways to be accepted by others, these are difficult tasks, especially if you are a transplant from Sheboygan living and writing in the Rio Grande Valley.  Katherine Hoerth poems show the way, her personal way, and they do it with grace and honesty.  She understands what we must all learn—what it means to be human.”

Robert S. Nelson, President of the University of Texas Pan American and author of Orphans, Bums and Angels

The Garden, Uprooted is a hypnotic burlesque dance, a garden frenzy of delights...And yet, the truth is here too, revealed in bursting metamorphoses and greatly impacted by the gradually seen and unseen realities of South Texas. It is because the poet is a Northern tree in foreign soil that the Texas-Mexico border so evocatively demands that she, like other border-dwellers, eternally ask, 'Who am I?' and 'Where do I belong?'

Ire’ne lara silva, author of furia

“The Garden, Uprooted is a fall into love, with all the trepidation and exhilaration of your first parachute jump. These poems are a sumptuous feast. They will fulfill your longing for pleasure.”

Steven Schneider, author of Unexpected Guests and Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives

But you can totally be the judge yourself. Here's a video of me reading my poems in Brownsville, Texas at Carino's Italian Restaurant, where I was the featured poet for July:

And below, I've included a few sample poems for your reading pleasure.

The Queen Palm

Trapped in a tower of naked trunk,
the queen palm hears the call
of spring:

let down your hair…

She unfolds her golden
Cascade of kernels
from her crown of fronds,
dangles her petal clusters
for pollen to grip and climb.
The flowers tangle in the wind
like bed sheets.

Soon, pods ripen into dates
as summer passes through –
an orange bouquet of blush.
The end of cicada songs click
like steed hooves atop cobblestones.

Branches, tired of heaving
their seeds, release them
to the wild bed of crabgrass
and clovers. With a thump,
the seeds sink into earth, germinate

and root into the next generation
that begins like a fairy tale,
with once upon a time.

first published in Victorian Violet Journal

Summer Song

A song of heat resounds across the brush
of Rio Grande -- a lullaby of sun

to seedlings, those nourished by spring’s rains.
To us, the idle – those who spent their dusks

unsoiled, this season sings a drought dirge, turns
our yard to desert.  Nothing blooms - no sprout

of lantana -- no hue to bring the hummingbirds,
those buff and iridescent shots to blush
in summer’s empty sky.


We wanted flora when we heard the hum
of honey bees, laughs of kiskadees

devouring citrus back behind the fence.
It’s late July and now you want to watch

our buds unwrap, to guess the hues before
they open up like an infant’s eyelid. Spade

in hand, you start to carve our russet earth.
You bring a marble bath for sparrows, haul
in trellises for when the jasmines crawl.


The sprinklers click, but daylight dries the blades
before the roots can suckle. Together

we spread a chemicals all across the lawn
for earth to swallow down as hoses run

through sunny afternoons. The song of heat
persists, but we can’t hear it rustling

the drying fronds, or feel sweat dripping down
from forehead to cheek. We dig through heat,

through August. At evening we sit beneath
encino shade. You kiss my forehead, hold

me close and whisper: Soon, tomorrow, the earth
will ripen beneath our boots.

First published in Ellipsis Journal  

South Texas Lawn Song 

 Each spring, encino oaks unravel
their festoon of catkins, toss
them to the wind that carries
their seeds over the fence our past
pieced together. Go with God, she whispers
as the pollen drifts from her branches.
Crabgrass creeps beneath the boards
and mingles with the carpet blades,
sucks dry the soil you water
in your crepuscular ritual. You can’t stop

the dandelions from peeking up
their yellow faces in your bed
of sprouts. You curse them
as they burst into florets
of snow, pop their downy heads
above the earthen sheets.
Mesquites, too, uncurl

from the earth and escape
from the monte to our Eden.
One sneaks in, a tiny bean
pod tucked into the pocket
of a child who hasn’t learned
that in this yard, that’s a weed
and doesn’t belong. This lawn,  

this carpet of roots and blooms
welcomes with its open palm the limon tree
for her starry blossoms, a vine of jasmine
to cover up the wound. You populate

the patio with palm trees, immigrants
that stumbled down to the Rio Grande
in the thirties when the sweat ran dry.
In the garden, you grow sprigs of cilantro,
serrano, a row of lettuce, two tomato plants
to cling to your trestle –

and just one single encino for the afternoon
shade. You rake and rake the acorns
in autumn, toss them over the fence
into the dusty rancho on the other side.

 Phew! Lots of news to share, right? And if this isn't enough...

I just received word that my first chapbook, Among the Mariposas, will be going into second edition! Get your hands on a first edition copy ASAP while you still can!

Stay tuned to my blog for all the latest updates. I have a very special post planned for the near future, going back to our discussion on chapbooks. Remember, if you'd like to join the conversaion, please email me at I am looking for publishers/ authors to interview, and chapbook titles to review.


  1. Katie,
    What a beautiful showcase for your work! I suspected you were being ridiculously modest when you told me it was "nothing, just my blog..." :) "The Harvest" will be in the mail to you before the end of the week, and I'm greatly looking forward to whichever chapbook you choose to send me. Just wish Texas wasn't so absurdly big that it's impossible to have a poetry reading together! Well, good night.... Jeff Holt

  2. Jeff,

    How incredibly kind of you!

    I'm glad you like my blog. It was designed by a good friend of mine, Missie Hernandez, of The Unread Reader:
    By the way, your copy of The Garden Uprooted was carried off by the mailman today. So it is currently waltzing across Texas X-D I should warn you, my poems are a tad steamy and I swing both ways (both free and metrical verse, that is).
    I'm excited to read "The Harvest"! Book swapping is such a fantastic idea. One of these days I'll make my way up to Dallas for a reading, I'm sure of it.

    Take care!


  3. Well, Katie, I am certainly looking forward to your steamy poems, and don't worry, I am not a formalist snob--if a poem is well written, I enjoy it. In terms of journeys, "The Harvest" will be on the first mail truck out to you tomorrow morning (it's not steamy, by the way--I think every poem in it about relationships is about broken ones). And I do hope you make it to Dallas--it would a revelation to me to find out if there is a poetry reading besides the Dallas Poetry Slam in this city (I feel as out of place as Prufrock at those events, because performance is as, or more, important, than words, and, well, enough said)....


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