Bully Love (Paperback)
Press 53, 9781950413034, 84pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2019
Bully Love, Patricia Colleen Murphy's second book, won the 2019 Press 53 Award for Poetry, selected by Poetry Series Editor Tom Lombardo. Bully Love follows the poet from Ohio to Arizona, from cows and cornfields to the Sonoran Desert, from youth to middle age, from daughter to orphan, from child to childfree, from loneliness to love. As the poet leaves a broken home to build a new life for herself, she struggles to adapt to a land teaming with dangers. Against a searing sunny backdrop, the poems describe how she makes peace with an inhospitable life and landscape as she overcomes hardships such as madness, death, depression, fear, anger, loneliness, heat, and hills. She ultimately finds beauty in the desert Edward Abbey called, "not the most suitable of environments for human habitation." The poems in Bully Love examine the long-term effects of displacement: a mother displaced from her home by mental illness, a women displaced from the Midwest to the Southwest, a girl scout camp displaced by a Uranium processing plant, desert wildlife displaced by urban sprawl and mining, wilderness displaced by careless tourists, ranches displaced by freeways, solitude displaced by companionship, fear displaced by joy. The collection examines how humans form relationships with both landscapes and lovers, all through the eyes of a woman who leaves a forlorn home, suffers relentless loss, and falls in love in and with one of the world's harshest ecosystems.