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Disheveled Histories

From the familial, fraught, heart of spring Wet Cement Press is thrilled to announce Michelle Murphy’s new book of poetry, Disheveled Histories. A book about which Pulitzer Prize winner Diane Seuss writes:


Pulitzer Prize winner Diane Seuss writes: “The poems in Michelle Murphy’s Disheveled Histories both echo the dishevelment and bring order to family history, personal history, the natural history of the body, and the land on which it resides. Murphy uncovers a sort of defiant eternity in her poems, though not the easy kind. Regarding a brother, who takes his own life by leaping from the Golden Gate bridge, she writes: ‘Even your father, his / history, moth-holed / almost laughs when / your urn refuses / to sink under the waves. / Nothing ends.’ Michelle Murphy has written a beautiful, gutsy, and restorative collection.” —Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets (Gray Wolf)


Disheveled Histories probes the enigmas of our existence by setting them against the clarity of a primer (see Murphy’s series of “how to” poems). Murphy knows that simple directives and rules cannot guide us through an unreasonable world with its disheveled histories—its gun violence, suicides, wildfires, and perpetual wars. Within a familial, rural landscape, she weaves musical paths for us to navigate the innate discord of violence and loss.

—Martine Bellen, author of An Anatomy of Curiosity (Mad Hat)


Michelle Murphy’s moving and beautifully crafted poems remind me of Fanny Howe.  They often inhabit moments just before loss, and in its immediate aftermath. A brother is lost to suicide, a mother to dementia, a forest to wildfire.  She weaves these losses into what endures and finds harmony. If time could be stopped, this would be how, by capturing the ephemeral and saving it as language.

—Amanda Holmes, author of I Know Where I Am When I’m Falling (Oak Tree Press), and poetry editor for the Washington Independent Review of Books.


Bio Note:

Michelle Murphy is the author of two previous poetry collections, Jackknife & Light (Avec Books) and Synonym for Home (Wet Cement Press). She lives with her husband and cat near the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada.

Disheveled Histories

  • Paperback / 80 pages / 5" x 8"

    ISBN: 979-8-9883840-2-1

    Distributed by Ingram

    Pub Date: 4/15/2024

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