Minds Of Europe: A Genealogy to The Fat Man

October 10, 2014

My book-length manuscript titled “Minds of Europe: A Genealogy to The Fat Man” is a series of poorly scribed palimpsests, a footbridge to the early 20th Century, a séance of sorts to channel poets, and thinkers, a series of reenactments of what Paul Valery called collectively “the mind of Europe:” “Every mind of any scope was a crossroads for all shades of opinion; every thinker was an international exposition of thought. There were the works of the mind in which the wealth of contrasts and contradictory tendencies was like the insane displays of light in the capitals of those days: eyes were fatigued, scorched….” Nietzsche, Freud, and Eliot all had something to say about the idea, enough to make it a core concept to Modernism. There is a three page introduction for this collection if the editor desires it. I have taught courses in modern and contemporary American, British, and French poetry; I am familiar with the work I cover.

The revised manuscript is broken into two chapters. The second chapter begins with Eliot’s remark that “For our society, the improvement of ethics might require the decay of aesthetics.” Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein transcends the manuscript and re-minds the reader. While my manuscript enters into the conversation regarding the above statement by Eliot, a reader may be advised to remember his remark on meaning in poetry when reading mine: “meaning [is] necessary to soothe the reader while the poem does its work.” The collection makes poignant Kevin Jackson’s Constellation of Genius and Stephen Klaidman’s Sydney and Violet. I believe the market to be an educated market, perhaps suggested reading for university courses.

A Copper Canyon reader remarked on an earlier draft of “Minds of Europe,” “academic in mission, Murphy’s poems insert themselves into the most rigorous tradition of thought.” A second wrote, “I admire the moments of humor/humility in lines such as . . . .” Twenty-five pages from the “Minds of Europe” manuscript were 2011 finalist in the Teacher’s Voice Poetry Chapbook Prize and an earlier version of the book-length manuscript was a finalist in the Santa Fe Writers Project Poetry Awards 2011. In September 2013, a chapbook collection from the manuscript won finalist at Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing. A possible introductory essay, “Minds of Europe as Reenactment,” was presented at the International Conference for New Directions in the Humanities in Budapest, June, 2013 and a version of it was published as a Blue Fifth Review Broadside, July 2014: http://bluefifthreview.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/broadside-35-summer-2014-14-14/.

Americana my third book of poems was selected as the winner in the Prize Americana 2013 by The Institute for American Studies and Popular Culture, an institute committed to creative writers as creators of culture and recorders of crucial ideas and important cultural moments. My first book, The Apple in the Monkey Tree, was published in 2007 (Codhill Press); my second book Voyeur was published in 2009, winner of the 2008 Gival Press Poetry Prize. Chapbooks include Paideia (Aldrich Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing) and Great Grandfather (Pudding House Publications).

Richard Carr wrote of my book Voyeur, “The poems are extraordinary as individuals, from the intriguing declarative first sentence of each down to its decisive, glistening last line.  And as a collection, like ‘a subtle song [that] travels / from ancient feet through hearts / to first breath in the world,’ Voyeur is spectacular.” Charles Alexander has written of Americana: “…These finely wrought poems are a vision of our moment, and they are keepers for the future, wherever we may go.” Geoffrey Gatza also wrote “Sheer intelligent joy runs through this book, hurray!” Derek Walcott remarked on my poetry, “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and testing intelligence, one of those writers who knows precisely what he wants his style to achieve. His poetry is quiet but packed, carefully wrought, not surrealistically wild, and its range not limited but deliberately narrow. It takes aim.”


Mass Poetry Festival

February 16, 2014

Mass Poetry Festival


Massachusetts Poetry Festival Workshop – The first week of May 2014. Don’t miss it.

February 16, 2014

Enigma Workshop

 

 

In a culture where poetry seems to be heaving its last breaths, those breaths are short, wheezing perhaps: tweet or “jug jug.” Enter enigmas: short poems that make use of irony and compressed language to leave the reader involved in play. During the enigma workshop participants will practice writing short ironic poems with vivid imagery and a sense of playfulness: Twitter, no problem. Enigma workshop participants will be asked to embrace two ideas when writing. The first idea is Emerson’s suggestion that each line should be a poem. The second idea is Eliot’s notion that, “meaning [is] necessary to soothe the reader while the poem does its work.” With those two ideas we will have fun with language.

 

At the close of the workshop participants will have the opportunity to Tweet their enigmas, share them on Facebook, and pen them on cocktail or coffee shop napkins. Enigmas then could be left in dentists’ offices, on lunch tables, or as small thoughts to consider on commuter trains.


Minds of Europe

February 8, 2014

My book-length manuscript titled “Minds of Europe” is a series of poorly scribed palimpsests, a footbridge to the early 20th Century, a séance of sorts to channel poets, and thinkers, a series of reenactments of what Paul Valery called collectively “the mind of Europe:” “Every mind of any scope was a crossroads for all shades of opinion; every thinker was an international exposition of thought. There were the works of the mind in which the wealth of contrasts and contradictory tendencies was like the insane displays of light in the capitals of those days: eyes were fatigued, scorched….” Nietzsche, Freud, and Eliot all had something to say about the idea, enough to make it a core concept to Modernism. There is a three page introduction for this collection if the editor desires it. I have taught courses in modern and contemporary American, British, and French poetry; I am familiar with the work I cover.

The revised manuscript is broken into two chapters. The second chapter begins with Eliot’s remark that “For our society, the improvement of ethics might require the decay of aesthetics.” Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein transcends the manuscript and re-minds the reader. While my manuscript enters into the conversation regarding the above statement by Eliot, a reader may be advised to remember his remark on meaning in poetry when reading mine: “meaning [is] necessary to soothe the reader while the poem does its work.” The collection makes poignant Kevin Jackson’s Constellation of Genius and Stephen Klaidman’s Sydney and Violet.

A Copper Canyon reader remarked on an earlier draft of “Minds of Europe,” “academic in mission, Murphy’s poems insert themselves into the most rigorous tradition of thought.” A second wrote, “I admire the moments of humor/humility in lines such as . . . .” Twenty-five pages from the “Minds of Europe” manuscript were 2011 finalist in the Teacher’s Voice Poetry Chapbook Prize and an earlier version of the book-length manuscript was a finalist in the Santa Fe Writers Project Poetry Awards 2011. A possible introductory essay, “Minds of Europe as Reenactment,” was presented at the International Conference for New Directions in the Humanities in Budapest, June, 2013 and will be published as a Blue Fifth Review Broadside, July 2014. In September 2013, a chapbook collection from the manuscript won finalist at Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing.

Americana my third book of poems was selected as the winner in the Prize Americana 2013 by The Institute for American Studies and Popular Culture, an institute committed to creative writers as creators of culture and recorders of crucial ideas and important cultural moments. My first book, The Apple in the Monkey Tree, was published in 2007 (Codhill Press); my second book Voyeur was published in 2009, winner of the 2008 Gival Press Poetry Prize. Chapbooks include Paideia (Aldrich Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing) and Great Grandfather (Pudding House Publications).

Richard Carr wrote of my book Voyeur, “The poems are extraordinary as individuals, from the intriguing declarative first sentence of each down to its decisive, glistening last line.  And as a collection, like ‘a subtle song [that] travels / from ancient feet through hearts / to first breath in the world,’ Voyeur is spectacular.” Derek Walcott remarked on my poetry, “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and testing intelligence, one of those writers who knows precisely what he wants his style to achieve. His poetry is quiet but packed, carefully wrought, not surrealistically wild, and its range not limited but deliberately narrow. It takes aim.”

Rich Murphy: richmurphyink@gmail.com


About

September 19, 2013

Whether writing socially conscious poetry or essays, my research, writing, and teaching interests include a global concern for the humanities. My paper on first-year writing, “Focused Inquiry: First-Year Students Discovering the Modern and Postmodern” will be published in the fall, 2014 in The International Journal for Critical Pedagogy. Colleagues in Brussels have invited me to write a chapter in a book titled Fractured Ecologies, “wild rigorous and irreverent avant-garde writing:” My paper is titled “From Extinction to Mutation: Globalism’s Impact on Poetry.” At the Gerard Manley Hopkins Festival in July 2013 in Newbridge, Ireland I presented my paper “Mon Oncle, Gerard Manley Hopkins.” In July 2014, at the Hopkins Festival I presented my paper “The Hopkins Path to Postmodern Poetry” that will be published in an upcoming issue of New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing.

Americana, my third book of poems (and second national award), was just published in January 2014 by Press Americana and the Institute for American Studies and Creative Writing, winning Prize Americana. A review written by Erin O’Neill Armandarez of Americana may be read beginning on page 72 of Aji Magazine: http://www.ajimagazine.com/uploads/2/2/2/8/22289112/ajimagazine_fall2014_issue1.pdf.

Some of my workshops and lectures are as follows: “Jug Jug to Dirty Ears:” Enigma in 140 Characters; On the Balls of Feet: How to Use Rhythm to Further a Means; Metaphor as a Springboard into Poetry; Aporia: Dancing Lessons Through the Sublime; At the Transit Station: How to, When to, and Why Use Intransitive Verbs in Poems; Hopkins Reads Carson; Victorian Desperation, Modernism’s Mourning, and Postmodernism’s Joy; Wordsworth is from Mars, Postmodernism is from Venus; and Ted Kooser and John Ashbery: What’s the Difference?

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Three Poems by Rich Murphy for BlazeVox

September 19, 2013

Three Poems by Rich Murphy for BlazeVox

In this link there are three poems that are closer to personal narrative perhaps than editors and readers might expect from me.


A Few Published Poems from “Minds of Europe” and “Americana”

September 19, 2013

Crumb

 

From newspaper, custom, and pillows

a swan built a nest for detecting air currents

and memory gusts that blossom 3-D into a tail:

cream cheese stained with strawberries. 

 

Mother pecked cheeks to feed.

 

Hawthorn wrote the way with pond water

and shade, but the ennui in privilege

parented the sensitivity to the blotting

in daily rituals and to steeples gathering

upon a carriage leaving town.

 

Countryside folded into the brainstem.

 

Steeped in tears the down neck

on Marcel gives way to out-stretched

wings and each feather detailed

permitting the rider to linger above

the petite concerns that peopled Combry.

 

 

 

Just Outside The Pied Cow

 

Thus talked Zarathustra in the city he loved, which is surnamed “The Pied Cow.”

                                                                                                Nietzsche

 

Most camels don’t survive to children.

Beasts of burden pace the desert

of dragon scales as house cats. The weight

of family alone makes rising from the doomed

 

a crushing heave for the bulk. “You shall,

you shall” flares from the bellies

of teachers and police until manes

and backbones spread as backyard mulch.

 

Spitting at a front lawn refreshes the first

insult. The reptile plants its neighborhood

claim for humps of youth sunning themselves

for a load. Fierce devotion to chimeras

 

and to the play of a knight on a dune

calls to Ovid’s bedtime readers before

they are buried or eaten. World heeders

 

 

 

Evidentialism

 

truth is that which makes a people certain, clear, and strong.” Martin Heidegger

 

Thrown into wild life, the clearing

defines authenticity from city.

Where else could the human

condition be? Meadows rubbing elbows

worked together enough in sunlit patches

wholly owned. As soon as pastures

linked arms, bad faith polluted

with rumor, reputation, and coercion.

Angst all around responsibility fled

into inter-state expressways for delusion

and paved complaint into compliant.

Asphalt, concrete, steel, and glass

relieved guilt with distraction.

(Facebook tapped into folk

and mirrors when alienation

invaded with cyberspace.) Time

and place squeezed lives into mobs

ripe for marketers. Harvested green

from limbs, most gifts and dreams

fertilized futility for propheteering,

a science able to rationalize

anything and believe nothing.

 

 

Masked Marvels

 

Their togas off, Marx and Freud wrestled

round two (?) for a hundred years. This time

nurture nearly pinned nature until the dirty

tricks we all know too well were executed.

 

Generosity would have walked away the victor

of rich and poor had private property and its

modest crown of silence not been so wiry.

With the bourgeoisie drawing on the mean

 

every day, family values, for its strength

and endurance, maneuvered muscle at the price

of the freedom of women. The middle class

won, but Plato got up smiling and brushed

 

himself off for another day. Aristotle went

into retail, and though the rest remains

history, the tectonic learners may yet find

their way out of the cortex of their cave.

 

 

Kafka’s Bride

 

Turning the pages of books into streets

and corridors, the starving Theseus winds

to where the bureaucratic Minotaur

awaits each reader. Lost in a bad dream’s

 

penitentiary, a beetle-shelled scapegoat

recognizes his wandering a solitary confinement’s

mad scheme and leads the protagonist’s call

for human responsibility. Estranged

 

from the guards and prisoners, the accused

artist on both sides of the ink hungers

for a balanced family, a woman’s touch

on any scale. Instead, the engaged lover

 

of life gives it up for a freedom just

beyond suffering father’s suffocation.

 

 

Love and Death in Granada

 

The crowd that flowed over London Bridge

rattled castanets in the Granada Streets:

By day as civil servants

and by night an arm pledged

to the Civil Guard that butchered fruit trees.

The Catholic Church buried the innocence.

Gacela and casida hung from limbs.

Ants took up positions within poems,

docile but capable without a word.

The walking dead resisted every breath

but horded oxygen from reading rooms

in the normal world.

The bitter root rejected imagination

and filled the bullfighting stadium

where friends feigned danger.

Wrapping typing paper around

a boot showcased the night with spurs

that invaded gypsy city and the moon.

Most bones cannot somnambulant alone

when stopping the river

from singing about an apple.

Lips part and then the jaw drops,

and the guitar suffers the swords,

while constellations, pistols.

The refrain: Each line after frowns.

 

 

Owning the Terrier

                        For Travis

 

Shell shocked, each Europe

picked through the rubble remains

for the genuine. Cities ducked

at thunder and nations drank

to forget. The island tail

that once wagged a mighty big dog

began to shake, and the canine

started to suffer dissociative

identity disorder. The implosion

called homecoming doubled

as victory. The Agamemnon family

troubles landed men in living-hell

onto bayoneted fences

or into the panoptic cells.

Clarissa wandered rocks for flowers.

 

For lack of Guinea,

brilliant women regret

or sally with five big sons.

Psychosis may have held

melancholy prose poems

hostage for new language

that only XX could articulate.

The time had come to regard

less the canon than to form English

before a tongue became a yawp.

 

 

“Come On Down”

 

“In short, they denied that we had ever been that hag-ridden populace a part of which was daily fed into a furnace and went up in oily flames, while the rest, in shackled impotence, waited their turn.”  Albert Camus

 

 

In the stands at the Coliseum the emperor

ignores thumbs and from his perch squishes

victims as though each were a bug. The fans

like to think that the food for lions has been

 

retired a decade, but saber teeth are also

sharpened on the bones of children

and middle-aged women. The sand at

the bottom of the arena’s pit plucks random

 

audience members or swallows whole sections

of seated citizens. Distracting themselves

from each loss, family and friends commiserate

or peer through fingers at the carnage.

 

The crowd gathers at the concession stand

bottleneck where the customer of inevitability

pays with a life to feed the complacent face

of change. Every body enjoys an ice-cold cheer.

 

 

Round the Block Toward Camus

 

The stone and hill wait for a reply

or to mark a death. The higher

ground never understands the granite

pushed into a place: The peak pinches,

and the boulder bowls over

so that a businessman chases a crag.

Again the weight matters

in the valley where the crust ore slab

test mettle, and the bone wears

before the slag that seems to snowball

upward. If effort achieved.

If purpose had bedrock or reef

where the engineer jerry-rigs

a hurtling geology that owns

mind and body. Relief eases

at the pivoting foot, the short poem

defying the gods before quarry

and renewed query. At bottom,

rocking with a diamond in mind

and anthracite at hand and shoulder,

the rebel without pause smiles

while the clock budges.

 

FROM AMERICANA

 

Anthem

 

From the mountains of wheat

to unmined coasts of milk and money

thoughts are empty of wailing bellies.

 

The air is grimy with snacks and booze

on the fat that belches townhouse and ranch

and movement cripples a creeping hand

while rocketing chains and expensive pain.

 

Among cropless bowls and wilting bodies

wall-to-wall living rooms a moment away are dragged

but not a kernel is shaken from wallpaper eyelids

left with magazine pinups selling soap.

 

In the churches of cones, gingerbread, and beans

the dieting and lonely gathering mid-week

cover their mouths with bored hands

and cups of decaf coffee.

 

 

American Dream

 

The home movie of the fenced-in putting

green surrounding a house of sticks puts

a nation to sleep, so that if anyone wakes

he is without the bacon to buy back his life.

 

Franklin’s promise of original self-crafted

homo sapiens was buried among pages

of fiction to be disinterred by desperate

shovelers. Mass produced husbands

 

and wives spray lacquer on each

of the conveyer belt’s children and lose

them on continental shelves. The people

of ceramic molds fear the feeling of

 

their bodies in their hands in order to keep

a thought of their own from adding or subtracting.

Too few lumps of clay from the land of the free

find their way to a hand of the brave.

 

 

Brush with Exposure

 

The path to trust troubles footing,

lashes eyes with jetted tendrils.

 

Each step in the manual for the ability

to be vulnerable includes no directions.

 

Flagstones, one-legged pink flamingoes,

or the Virgin in an upended bath tub

 

camouflages shame from curb

to front door, behind which secrets fester.

 

Judges stand at every window

with megaphones and sit idling

 

in police cruisers pointing fingers.

Balance and the willingness to share

 

any berth along the way doesn’t clear

thicket but provides shoulders

 

and similar stories. For instance, race

and sexuality may slow the engendering

 

blame game to a joke. Keys to assurance lock

nothing but open to revise, revise, revise.

 

 

Now, the Fashion Celebrity

 

Collecting reports from senses,

the spinning wheel looms.

The fibers tangling into thread

include the unconscious records

as well as might be.

 

Without a spindle each faculty

roams alone, even at home.

Quicker than ticker-tape

and no thicker than silk,

the present slips into something

more comfortable, and the spider

backs into a corner once again.

Yet, a spool will pause to put

the evidence in order, even if

the participant must live in the past

with the paparazzi.

 

Clothed with an intricate monogram,

each audience member remains on stage

until the craftsmanship unravels.

While a second hand

makes a round and firsthand

heads for the hills, experience

rewrites a history.

 

 

Neither Rhyme nor Season

 

The untimely artistic energy gushes

from wells drilled with great regret

miles below the tourist industries.

Souvenir shops and motels

occupy the tuned in hearts

thumping to mouth-watering iambs

on pop stations. The refineries

for raw talent stockpile ambition

and sublimation for cities and suburbs

that tour universities and Hallmark

for factory prints. Every means

has been tried and every expense

continues in an attempt

to stem at its human source the accident

spewing with paint, ink, noise, even stone

at a studio here and writing desk there.

 

The unrecognizable products

from dispersant sheen teens

and tar-balled gunk punks

carry regret boons and exotic sorrow

as the thrill babies thrill using thumbs

and temp-jobs to paper over

the oops career destined to hang

on a bank vault walls in 50 years.

The plumes from the slick poetry pipe

stop as natural gas in each exhales,

but not without the disaster welling up

in someone else deep beneath

the marketing hustle bustle

punching holes in fin and flesh.

 

 

Postmodern Martial Arts

 

With what we don’t have flaunted all around.

Gnats taunting garbage. False sincerity

igniting rats. Gucci, Gucci goo. Malaise

stuck on the heel of a shoe fills nostrils.

Gross domestic happiness

waves its mortgage to waive fear

for mayonnaise. The flow charts.

Feet look sewer. Acquisitions and enjoyments

rev their motives while waiting for the third

generation cowboy. “Come down off a cloud

named Silver.” US cash total 300,000 =

the 150 million meek. What’s wrong

with the unimaginative tells the street people

how lucky the dead are not. Earth

my word my witness. Deregulated violence

drones it Tasers: gawking testicles,

not Moloch moms spoiling dinner,

children, and their own lives. Get hip

and walk a mile. The beat survives

on bread alone. Too late to wake up man.

The buses for one leave their curves.

The dear in headlights pushes hope

with its eye out all made up.

 

 

Fright or Flight

 

Citizens of secret cities polish floors

beneath their beds with the crisp fronts

of shirts. Skies of springs and foam

held up by posts and frames never rain

 

and no god sags in the clouds drawing

the wrath of outdoor threats. The snow

of interiors piles high in shoes. Bootstraps

are put to rest. The safety first students

 

graduated from under desks and frequent

fliers shifted their compartments from

between their knees. Chased by a sense

of fear, mop heads show up for work

 

and crawl after pay checks. Backbones

of dust cloths never stood against evil’s

thin air in an epoch of blue capes

and telephone booths on every corner;

 

two sets of neighboring eyes have

never confronted each other at

the attitude of between five and six feet.

 

 

Pepperoni Peace

 

When delivering democracy

from 10,000 feet, purveyors know

all parties below tip and receive a slice

straight from the oven

without a chance to scatter.

But then, before hell rang the doorbell,

the men mixing tomato sauce

in the kitchens on foundations

had addresses to populations

and orders also: The pot

had been simmering

to a boil a long time.

Pizzazz thrown in the air

sits flat with extra cheese

or the works on top in a box.

When the box flies open,

the smell is unmistakable:

Nothing sells like the sell in the morning.

On paper, the meal with map and driver

could feed the world and may,

even considering home-made concoctions

ready to spice up the messengers.

The average citizen dipping

a finger in the tomatoes and oregano

casts a vote and everybody else knows.

The dough spreads around

when everyone thinks

about a pie peace.

Burnt remnants fade from memory.
 

 

The Wait for Lame Excuses

 

The lopsided war

between the tribal

and infantilized peoples

continues until the men

with spears, spare time,

and misogyny wound themselves.

The lollipop populations

hand out diapers

to hunters in slings.

The happy ending

that thumb suckers demand

comes in various flavors,

but it arrives.

Asymmetrical gangsters

gather here and there in the hills

to lob disasters

when schoolyards fill

so that lessons lapse unlearned.

Hopscotch and jackstones

pass the time for fabled hares

with car keys waiting

for accidental injury.

When Brute Billy comes

looking for first aid,

the conflict subsides

and Nancy Nurse Coerce cuts

a deal so that the nap mats

absorb another playmate

with a life expectancy.