Michelle Brooks

Michelle Brooks has published poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction in The Iowa Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Madison Review, Orchid, Blue Mesa Review, Gargoyle, South Carolina Review, Slipstream, Natural Bridge, Confluence, Eclipse, Other Voices, and elsewhere. A native Texan, she has lived in Detroit since Devil’s Night 1997. In her spare time, she writes Michelle’s Spells (www.michellespells.blogspot.com). Her first novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, was published by Storylandia Press in 2011.

Books by Michelle Brooks for the Backwaters Press

Make Yourself Small

Author: Michelle Brooks
Format: Paperback, 87 pages
ISBN: 978-1-935218-26-5
Published: November 2011

Buy This Book: Amazon

Critical Praise for Michelle Brooks’ Make Yourself Small

One might be forgiven for thinking that the almost universally dark subject matter of these eloquent poems— rape and its aftermath, murder, aberrant psychology, divorce, suicide—might make for gloomy reading. Banish the thought! These poems perfectly encompass both the surrounding darkness and the inextinguishable candle that is lit against it. They are not about life so much as they are the stuff of life itself. Savor them and take heart.
—Pinckney Benedict, author of Town Smokes, Dogs of God, The Wrecking Yard and Miracle Boy

Born in a dust dry town in Texas where she grew up among the spiders, snakes, desert dwellers and “serial killers with three names,” Michelle Brooks brings her readers to a point where a decision has to be made. Make yourself small and survive or die in ignorance? Brooks gives us poetry about enduring the unendurable because there is no other option available. As she says, don’t “clean your gun by sticking it in your mouth as people will whisper at the funeral.…” Her poetic voice is similar to Johnny Cash covering Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” Her poetry is dressed in black, the pieces are given to us straightforward with little accompaniment, but she effectively communicates that she has found her personal Jesus. We find she has gone beyond simply enduring the terror to live life on her own terms. Brooks brings more than honesty to her work; she brings truth. The kind of truth that no one likes to look at but everyone has to see if they are ever going to learn how to make themselves small enough to live demon-free.
—Mark C Durfee, author of The Line Between

There is certain, thrilling danger in each word of Make Yourself Small: the danger of passion, of faith, of promises made and broken and broken again. Your only safety lies in the sure hands of everyday saints and nameless sinners as they lead you through Brooks’ landscape of shattered hearts. Sensual and exquisite.
—Laura Benedict, author of Isabella Moon and Calling Mr. Lonelyhearts

Poems from Make Yourself Small

To His Coy Mistress in Detroit

Some guy in line at CVS starts
babbling about the end times, rapture
yelling, Do you watch the news?
Do you see how everything is going
to hell? The checker says, Fool, look
around you. The end times already
come and gone in Detroit and we still
here. I hand her the vodka that I’ve
been clutching as if it might save me,
if from myself if nothing else. End
times, the checker says, I heard that
one before. Men always saying some
shit to get you into bed, and I shake
my head and say, Don’t I know it.



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  1. […] read in OmahaMichelle Brooks Reviewed in RattleBy Kevin Flatowicz-Farmer | Published: April 11, 2012Michelle Brooks‘ recent collection from The Backwaters Press, Make Yourself Small, is reviewed in the current […]

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