'Burying the Body'

Amid all of the distractions in life, the poems in Christina Murdock’s Burying The Body violently snap us back to reality.

Murdock, who died this past April 23 from undetected heart damage, a result of aggressive treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma contracted at the age of 19, was preoccupied with the human body—the cellular betrayals, the weird wet kinks and odd stomach gurgles, the whole messy wonder of our physical lives. She was fascinated by our mortality.

In this book, Murdock, who studied at the University of Pittsburgh and was a recipient of the 2006 Sara Henderson Hay Prize, finds fertile ground for her explorations in the bloody terminology of horror films such as the locally apt George Romero zombie flicks—this bit passage from “After Watching Diary of the Dead”:

“You amend your original plan, decide / that you don’t want me to shoot you / if you ever turn into a zombie. / You want to try it out. … / But there is something in me / that wants to tear into you first, / to feel my teeth rip into the firm flesh / of your shoulder, belly, / the part of your thigh / where no hair grows.”

Murdock is unafraid to go into the shadowy, sticky places where love dwells and unflinchingly report back her findings. Then, just as she makes you recoil from a shocking image, Murdock can make you laugh out loud with “A List of What I Don’t Want to Tell You”: “I kissed every member of the ’98 Italian soccer team. / Even the ugly ones.”

Burying The Body
is a moving, self-assured collection of poems—the work of a talented young poet. Murdock is survived by her husband, Terry, and Sophia, her daughter. Sales of Burying The Body will benefit a scholarship fund for her daughter. To order the book, visit tribalwolf.com/murdock.