Junior Taryn Murphy holds her recently-pub­lished book of poems, “Hello My Name Is Sen­ti­mental.” Courtesy | Taryn Murphy

When junior Taryn Murphy began fever­ishly scrib­bling poems in the margins of her class notes on her homework assignment and sending them in texts to her friends, she never imagined that she would one day publish a book of poetry. 

In a cul­mi­nation of two years’ work, Murphy self-pub­lished the first edition of her poem col­lection “Hello My Name Is Sen­ti­mental” on Wednesday, Sept. 11, through Amazon’s self-pub­li­cation service. 

The book, which Murphy called “a reflection on the divinity in the world around her,” is available for pur­chase on Amazon. 

Com­prised of five sec­tions of blank-verse poetry, the book begins with the section called “Wonder,” then moves into “Love,” “Wrestle,” “Wither,” and “Waken,” tracing the Christian nar­rative of sal­vation. 

“I wanted my poetry to be bru­tally honest, but arranged in a way where the sad and broken and lamenting poetry wouldn’t over­shadow the joy of the book,” Murphy said. “As humans we feel extreme joy and extreme pain, but they coexist, so I wanted to couch them all together and leave the reader feeling a new sense of hope.” 

For Murphy, the gradual intro­duction to poetical sen­si­bil­ities changed her view of poetry. Murphy picked up her pen for the first time upon arriving at Hillsdale as a freshman, and said at first her poetry was a form of emo­tional release. 

But over time, Murphy’s per­ception of the artistic process trans­formed.  

“This summer, it hit me. I was having a great summer, and I wasn’t writing poetry,” Murphy said. “That’s when I realized it was a form of catharsis, but I also needed to step out of that catharsis, and use poetry as another dimension to express my joy.” 

This became the theme of Murphy’s entire col­lection, that poetry is every­where and in every­thing. 

Last semester, Murphy approached one of her closest friends, senior and art major Car­oline Hen­nekes, with her initial idea to publish a book of her own poetry. 

Hen­nekes walked Murphy’s poetic journey with her from the beginning and designed the cover art for the book. 

Hen­nekes recalled receiving spon­ta­neous poems via text from Murphy throughout the day, con­cerning small inci­dents, encounters, and images she found beauty in that day. 

Because of their close friendship, Hen­nekes said she “felt the pressure,” to ensure her cover art encap­su­lated both Murphy as a person and Murphy’s art. Hen­nekes settled on a simple, hand-drawn hon­eycomb for the cover of the book. 

“It shows this sweet tone of ordinary things, but how beau­tiful they can be,” Hen­nekes said. 

The cover art also hints at one of Murphy’s favorite images in the col­lection: Honey bees. Throughout the book, the honey bee pops up fre­quently, sym­bol­izing the pursuit and attainment of peace, as in one unnamed poem from the fifth section of the book, Murphy’s favorite of the col­lection.

“watch the hairy honey bee/poised, dusty on the stamen/nodding her head into the lily’s bosom./sh. there. hear it?/she is singing for you,” Murphy writes.

According to Murphy, the self-pub­li­cation process is fairly simple. After inves­ti­gating on her own, Murphy hap­pened to dis­cover a copy of 2018 alumna Tori Hope Peterson’s self-pub­lished poetry col­lection, “Secret Ser­vants,” on display at Rough Draft. 

Peterson had self-pub­lished her book, and Murphy con­tacted her to seek advice. 

“I think putting your art out there when it has been denied mul­tiple times is hard,” Peterson said. You’re not sure how suc­cessful it will be. But I told her that doesn’t matter. If you self-publish, it will reach the people that it needs to reach. It is kind of how God speaks to us. When you hear a sermon, you won’t interpret it how I interpret it. I told her to publish, and people would interpret it how they need to interpret it.” 

“Hello My Name Is Sen­ti­mental” is not meant to be the cul­mi­nation of Murphy’s career in poetry, she said. Rather, she hopes it will spring­board her into a career of poetry, travel, and speaking about beauty’s integral role in the human life.