‘In this astonishing collection, Murayama speaks to grief both deeply personal and shared, from the loss of loved ones to communal and national wounds. She writes, We strive to live in the pocket of the wave where the energy is brightest. So too, these poems, while haunted by profound loss, careen ceaselessly toward light’. Erin Mizrahi
‘Every minute, every year, you icebreak, she writes, referencing a grief rooted in the present and a product of inherited trauma. Balancing personal details with allusions to folklore, visual art, and film, these poems insist on bearing witness.’ Despy Boutris
‘When Murayama wrote the line, I wield the heart commanding / your attention she couldn’t have known just how right those words were, how their truth would echo far beyond the poem of their origin.’ Raphael Jenkins
Shareen K Murayama’s debut collection, Housebreak is a book of wild beauty and probing enquiry. Murayama asks how we live within perennial emergency, where belonging and self-protection converge, how we explain loss to children, what the wind has in common with hate crime. These heartbreaking poems are full of dance-like grace, and gut punches that send the reader off balance. Formally artful and disruptive, they seek out the breaths between words and worlds, applying biology, etymology, astronautics and myth. There is a gentle undoing, a quiet rage here, alongside great tenderness. Housebreak is stunning, apocalyptic, revelatory.