On one hand Murder Ballad is a fierce critique of Jane Springer's Southern inheritance, on the other these poems quickly reveal the enigmatic beauty and sharply ironic humor contained in the still-relevant colloquialisms that often shape her characters. Her loose definitions of Southern-isms are the jumping-off place for the masterful poet as she leaps, narrates, and redefines the American South.
From "Pretty As You Please":
Then when you're nightfishing the Mississippi & catching a bucket of nothing,
lonely as a single barge weeping its rust in the water—you see them—on a
bridge above you, hair slick as frogskin& glittering from skinny dipping—
as in bucknaked & necking—& suddenly the moon is an empty jar of mayo.
Jane Springer's first book Dear Blackbird (University of Utah Press, 2007) won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize. Her other awards include an AWP Intro Prize, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Poetry, an NEA fellowship, and a Whiting Writers Award. She teaches poetry at Hamilton College in upstate New York, where she lives with her husband, son, and two dogs. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from such places as Fugue, Oxford American, and The Southern Review.