Murmur

US List Price: $17.95

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Also available as e-book.

Murmur

US List Price: $17.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

About the Book

The second book by NAACP Image Award finalist Cameron Barnett, Murmur considers the question of how we become who we are. The answers Barnett offers in these poems are neither safe nor easy, as he traces a Black man’s lineage through time and space in contemporary America, navigating personal experiences, political hypocrisies, pop culture, social history, astronomy, and language. Barnett synthesizes unexpected connections and contradictions, exploring the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and the death of Terence Crutcher in 2016 and searching both the stars of Andromeda and a plantation in South Carolina. A diagnosis from the poet’s infancy haunts the poet as he wonders, “like too many Black men,” if “a heart is not enough to keep me alive.”

Watch Cameron’s release reading for Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures’ Made Local Series


Praise for Murmur

Open Murmur and be prepared for its thoughtfully crafted forms, sparkling enjambments, and searingly true lines. It is clear why Barnett’s first book made him an NAACP Image Award Finalist and why this one cements him as a voice of his generation calling attention to the “fear, like too many Black men, that a heart is not enough / to keep me alive.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cameron Barnett’s Murmur is in fact a glorious shout. These poems shake up histories, both intimate and political. They stir and disturb the ways we look at love, at race, at our people and ourselves. A bold, beautiful, and brilliant collection!
—Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Cameron Barnett’s collection Murmur is simply stunning—simultaneously expansive, inventive, and intimate. . . . It urges us to center the corners, the ghosts, the murmurs, the stories, and the sights that live, breathe, and are essential if we want to have fullness of heart. An excavation of things forgotten, and both unremembered and misremembered, Barnett’s poems remind us that “sometimes flecks in the corners . . . are more than aberrations.” With poems spanning histories, both personal and collective, and poems that center Blackness as a site of joy, promise, pain, and possibilities, these poems compel us toward knowledge we are deeply implicated in. Using the heart, its murmur, and ghosts as a connective thread, Barnett’s poems require us to listen to “our hauntings,” as they tell us in lyrical language and form “how to give . . . ghosts a home” because “the silence of ghosts becomes a lesson.” This is a collection to revel in, to read, and to return to again and again. Barnett invites us to listen for the magnitude of stars and intimacy of histories still being made. I found myself breathless as I kept reading for the murmurs within and without.
—M. Soledad Caballero, author of I Was a Bell

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Cameron Barnett is a poet and teacher from Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water, the winner of the Autumn House Press Rising Writer Prize and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He is a graduate of Duquesne University and earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Other […]

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