Paperback Price: $15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-882295-93-7

Selected Poem


When they told us Don’t speak until spoken to, we grew
ears the size of corn.

When they forced us to eat everything we swallowed
their hurt whole.

When they hit us for drawing on the wall we painted
doors that opened behind curtains.

For generations they lived like this. Wanting badly to
save us—not knowing how.

& all the while we found love in unlikely places: in
the ravaged church of our bodies & our faces,

refracted in their long faces.

Murder Ballad

Co-winner of the 2013 Shelia Motton Book Award

“The landscape, the family, the incidental characters that enter both books have this fantastically grounded reality where you doubt and believe their existences at the same time.”
The Rumpus

“[Murder Ballad is] ripe with all the textures of bayous, swamp cypress, underwater muck, and the ‘damp implosion of woodscent.'”
New Orleans Review

“Not since I read James Agee’s A Death in the Family have I been so compelled to stare into the eyeballs of chiggers and mildew.  Jane Springer is on a thin reed in the present moment reciting incantatory poems. May I plainly say, ‘What a goddamn beautiful book this is.'”
—Jane Miller

“I have a feeling Jane Springer met the devil at the crossroads.  There’s not a note she can’t pluck, and the music is like no one else’s: rich as the red clay of Georgia, startling as a raccoon’s bite, ‘crazy as a shithouse rat’ and cool as sweet tea on a sultry afternoon. There’s some nittygritty here, hauled up from the freezer chest on the porch, unearthed like a mastodon that’s been buried far longer than we can imagine. And there is tremendous vitality and sublimity in this ‘dark county of the heart’ where her music comes from. Whatever devilish bargain has been struck, it has been a boon to all parties. Hallelujah for us all.”
—D.A. Powell

“Jane Springer’s poems are dazzling, devastating and utterly original—sound-rich, sensual, sensational—you will be carried away.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye

“. . .a fine spin of thought. . . . a strong pick for American literary poetry collections.”
Midwest Book Review

“. . .masterful in its depiction of the sensuality and brutality of the American South. . . . These are poems that face the darkness that abounds in everyday life, they express a love of the colloquial, and they give us glimpses of humor and irony.”
Tuesday Poem

“[Murder Ballad] is a tangled ode to the South, filled with coon stew, frog guts, pig shit, the violence of rape, slavery, and regret. Springer wrote it with the deep, sisterly love of a drunken, wayward brother she knows better than anyone.”

“Traversing the despair of the rural south, Springer exploits the urgency and dread of every keening murder ballad, showing how that cleaving is both our undoing and our salvation.”
Rain Taxi

“Springer shows time and again that this music is an inheritance, the murder ballad that dwells in ‘the dark county of the heart,’ and her poems hold the tension of wanting ‘to erase the ancient, violent beauty / in the devil of not loving what we love.'”
Phantom Limb

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