Timothy Murphy (poet)

Last updated

Timothy Murphy
Timothy Iver Murphy

(1951-01-10)January 10, 1951
DiedJune 30, 2018(2018-06-30) (aged 67)
OccupationPoet, businessman

Timothy Iver Murphy (January 10, 1951 – June 30, 2018) was an American poet and businessman. [1] [2] Reviewing Timothy Murphy's second collection in Contemporary Poetry Review in 2002, Paul Lake observed that "What Virgil was to the Italian peninsula and Homer to the Greek Mediterranean, Murphy is to the swatch of plains stretching from the Upper Midwest to the Rockies like a grassy inland sea." [3]



Murphy was the son of Vincent and Katherine Bye Murphy. He was raised in Moorhead, Minnesota. Murphy was admitted to Yale University as an undergraduate. He was mentored there by Robert Penn Warren, the renowned poet and novelist. In 1972, he graduated with a B.A. degree and was designated Scholar of the House in Poetry. However, Warren declined to recommend Murphy for an academic position. Warren urged him instead to return to the "rich soil" of his rural roots. Murphy returned to Minnesota, where he joined his father in an insurance and estate planning business. He subsequently became involved in several farming and manufacturing enterprises in North Dakota. [2] [4] [5] [6] He died at the age of 67.


Murphy published his first collection of poetry, The Deed of Gift, in 1998; the collection represents all of Murphy's work as a poet through about 1996. In a contemporary review of the volume, Gerry Cambridge summarized Murphy's accomplishment: "There are outstanding poems here, including 'Harvest of Sorrows', 'Sunset at the Getty', and 'The Quarrel', as well as a great number of very likeable, individual, and tautly-made pieces. It would be hard to confuse Murphy with any other contemporary poet. No one else writing poetry in English sounds quite like him." [7] As poet Dick Davis has noted, this distinctive style owes much to Murphy's use of traditional meter and rhyme, unusual among poets today: "His poems are wholly his own, and yet the voice in them lives in and through his mastery of traditional metre, which is so thorough as to seem indivisible from the poems' sensibility and meaning." [4] This focus on rhyme and meter is exemplified in the following excerpt from "Harvest of Sorrows":

When swift brown swallows
return to their burrows
and diamond willows
leaf in the hollows,
when barrows wallow
and brood sows farrow,
we sow the black furrows
behind our green harrows.

excerpt from "Harvest of Sorrows" [8]

In a 2001 interview, Murphy cited C.P. Cavafy and Homer as influences, noting that they, like himself, were gay. [6] In 2011, The Dakota Institute published two collections of Murphy's poetry, Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder and Hunter's Log. Murphy joked in an interview that year that "I've got more inventory than Ford Motor Co." [9] After 2011, Murphy's poetry has been published by The North Dakota State University Press. Devotions (2017) is a substantial (160-page) collection that gathers poems from his return to the Catholic Church after 2005. [10] Dana Gioia concludes his introduction: "These are genuine poems rooted in a passionate encounter with the divine. I predict they will find many devoted readers." In 2019, Hunter's Log: Volumes II & III appeared posthumously.


Related Research Articles

Richard Wilbur American poet

Richard Purdy Wilbur was an American poet and literary translator. One of the foremost poets of his generation, Wilbur's work, composed primarily in traditional forms, was marked by its wit, charm, and gentlemanly elegance. He was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1987 and received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry twice, in 1957 and 1989.

Peter John Dale is a British poet and translator particularly noted for his skilful but unobtrusive use of poetic form.

Thomas McGrath (poet) American poet

Thomas Matthew McGrath, was a celebrated American poet and screenwriter of documentary films.

Wesleyan University Press is a university press that is part of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. The Press is currently directed by Suzanna Tamminen, a published poet and essayist.

John Meade Haines was an American poet and educator who had served as the poet laureate of Alaska.

Robert Dana American poet

Robert Dana was an American poet, who taught writing and English literature at Cornell College and many other schools, revived The North American Review and served as its editor during the years 1964–1968, and was the poet laureate for the State of Iowa from 2004 to 2008.

The Shit Creek Review is an online literary and art magazine. Its content is mostly related to poetry, and includes work belonging the differing styles of formalism and free verse by established authors and new writers. It draws on the authors and resources of a number of online poetry forums, such as Eratosphere and The Gazebo.

Barbara Ras is an American poet, translator and publisher. Her most recent poetry collection is The Last Skin, which was preceded by One Hidden Stuff, and her first collection is Bite Every Sorrow.

The Richard Wilbur Award is an American poetry award and publishing prize given by University of Evansville in Indiana. It is named in honor of the American poet Richard Wilbur and was established by William Baer, a professor at the University of Evansville. This biennial competition amongst all American poets awards publication of the winning manuscript by the University of Evansville Press and a small monetary prize.

Greg Williamson is an American poet. He is most known for the invention of the "Double Exposure" form in which one poem can be read three different ways: solely the standard type, solely the bold type in alternating lines, or the combination of the two.

Ian Parks British poet

Ian Parks is a British poet, known for his works consisting of love poetry.

Deborah Warren American poet

Deborah Warren is an American author.

Timothy Liu is an American poet and the author of such books as Bending the Mind Around the Dream's Blown Fuse, For Dust Thou Art, Of Thee I Sing, Hard Evidence, Say Goodnight, Burnt Offerings and Vox Angelica. He is also the editor of Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry.

<i>Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire</i>

Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire was a poetry collection written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and his sister Elizabeth which was printed by Charles and William Phillips in Worthing and published by John Joseph Stockdale in September 1810. The work was Shelley's first published volume of poetry. Shelley wrote the poems in collaboration with his sister Elizabeth. The poems were written before Shelley entered the University of Oxford.

M. A. Griffiths

M. A. Griffiths (1947–2009) was a British poet who developed an international following on the Internet.

Paul Lake is an American poet, essayist, and professor at Arkansas Tech University. Another Kind of Travel won the Porter Fund Award for Literary Excellence. In addition, he won the Richard Wilbur Award for poetry in 2006.

Dora Malech American poet (born 1981)

Dora Malech is an American poet.

Joseph Fasano American poet

Joseph Fasano is an American poet and novelist. Fasano was raised in Goshen, New York, where he attended Goshen Central High School. He earned a BA in philosophy from Harvard University in 2005 and an MFA from Columbia University in 2008. His poem "Mahler in New York" won the 2008 RATTLE Poetry Prize. He has been a finalist for the Missouri Review Editors' Prize and the Times Literary Supplement Poetry Competition, among other honors. He has taught at SUNY Purchase, Manhattanville College, and Columbia University.

Daniel Lusk is an American poet, writer, editor, and teacher. He has authored six collections of poetry, most recently The Shower Scene from Hamlet. He lives in Burlington, Vermont, with his wife, the poet Angela Patten.

Erica Dawson is an American poet and professor. She is the author of three poetry collections.


  1. Lee, Stephen (July 2, 2018). "Tim Murphy, poet of Plains and pheasants, dies in Fargo". Pierre Capital Journal. Archived from the original on July 3, 2018.
  2. 1 2 "i.m. Timothy Murphy". Waywiser Press. July 17, 2018.
  3. Lake, Paul (2002). "Laureate of the Plains: Timothy Murphy's Very Far North". Contemporary Poetry Review.
  4. 1 2 "Timothy Murphy, Very Far North". Waywiser Press. 2002. Waywiser Press published Murphy's second collection of poetry. In this webpage they include otherwise unpublished quotations from Dick Davis, Michael Donaghy, and Richard Wilbur, as well as excerpts from published reviews.
  5. Murphy, Timothy (Spring 1998). "Reminiscences of Robert Penn Warren" (PDF). The Dark Horse : 8.
  6. 1 2 Haven, Cynthia (November 2001). "Interview:Timothy Murphy". The Cortland Review . Archived from the original on October 24, 2006.
  7. Cambridge, Gerry (Autumn 1999). "Rich Gleanings: The Deed of Gift, by Timothy Murphy" (PDF). The Dark Horse : 68–71. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 30, 2006. Gerry Cambridge founded the Scottish literary journal The Dark Horse.
  8. Murphy, Timothy; Wilbur, Richard (1998). "Harvest of Sorrows". The Deed of Gift. Ashland, Oregon: Story Line Press. ISBN   1-885266-62-6.
  9. Lamb, John (November 29, 2011). "Fargo poet Murphy confronts mortality, struggles of faith". The Forum . Fargo, North Dakota.
  10. 1 2 Domestico, Anthony (April 8, 2018). "A Hard-Earned Detachment: Devotions by Timothy Murphy". Commonweal Magazine.
  11. Solheim, David R. (October 1, 2001). "Review of Set the Ploughshare Deep: A Prairie Memoir By Timothy Murphy". Great Plains Quarterly: Paper 2202.
  12. Sullivan, Alan. "About Author". Fresh Bilge.

Further reading