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Catalog Archive / Fall 2023


Wisconsin Poetry Series
Sean Bishop and Jesse Lee Kercheval, Series Editors
Ronald Wallace, Founding Series Editor

Winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Eduardo C. Corral

“Dhyne tells us he was born the day that his mother told him his father had died, and it’s true; in this spare, hard-won collection, even those poems that aren’t elegiac are elegies, since their speaker inhabits that originating loss—a wound which is also something very close to the source of love. Scrupulously honest, relentless, and tender, this is a remarkable first book.”
—Mark Doty

I can’t look at this empty page / without seeing his hands

Grief fractures and scars. In Afterlife Michael Dhyne picks up the shattered remains, examining each shard in the light, attempting to find meaning—or at least understanding—in the death of his father. “If I tell the story in reverse, / it still ends with nothing.” And yet it is in the telling that Dhyne’s story—and the world he creates—is filled. The echoes of his childhood loss reverberate through adolescence and adulthood, his body, the bodies of those he loves, and the world around them.

How we are shaped by our experiences, and how we refuse to be shaped, is at the heart of the poet’s search for memory, meaning, and love—in all its forms and wonders. This bold and tender debut is a rousing reminder that poetry and art can heal.


Michael Dhyne. Michael Dhyne received an MFA from the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize; he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Community of Writers, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His poetry has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, The Spectacle, and elsewhere.




“Heartbreaking and brilliant in its delicacy and its depths, and in the many ways it reaches from interior drama to range far out into the wider world. The spell cast by this book ties our adult ways of moving through our lives to the primitive child-need for magic and reassurance: the longing we all know for order amid the terrors of random events, and the search, in the welter of our days, for the place or person or state of mind in which self can feel held.”
—Debra Nystrom

“Singing his way back into a childhood devastated by the violent, accidental death of his father, the poet channels the voices of all the victims: his mother, his father, and himself. In poem after poem, Dhyne creates that urgent space only the best poets can—a space of anguished compassion where the dead and living gather to haunt and inspirit each other’s being.”
—Gregory Orr



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Table of Contents


To My Father, the Light



Living Room
In Love with a Girl Eating Strawberries
God’s Eye
Self-Portrait with Sky Left Over


The Window
New Mexico
4 a.m.
A Beginning
Without End
Last Words to My Husband


Like a Gift Passed Between Us
Self-Portrait on the Beloved’s Body
On Silence
95 South
Portrait of My Father as a Young Man
Tell Me a Story
Father’s Day


Untitled (Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor), Cy Twombly, 1994
Heaven Is Empty and We’re All in It



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November 2023
90 pp. 5.5 x 7.5

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Paper $17.95
ISBN 9780299346843
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