Jim Murphy, Ph.D.Associate Professor of English
Both the poetry writing and scholarship that I do are focused on American vernacular roots, with sources that run from jazz, blues, and rock 'n' roll, to film, to the visual arts.
My new book, Heaven Overland, has just been published by Kennesaw State University Press.
While some singularity or egotism may be unavoidable in poetry, not every poet chooses, as Jim Murphy does, to temper subjectivity with sensitivity to the world around him. Murphy's choice-or his compulsion-to attend to his community, its geographies and histories, is a gift to all readers: this poetry concerns us as much as anything else. Over the last fifty years, American's most visible poetry has been a poetry of ego and personality, in which the writer's self serves as a primary subject-so much so the most readers seem to expect every poem to be a confession or autobiography. But the poetry of community-of environment, of city, of nation-the poetry of concern has also abided, albeit less visibly, as a counterpoise. Heaven Overland draws from both traditions. As it turns outward, this collection extends the ethical tradition, and as it turns inward, marries the subjective to the receptive, recalling Whitman's work more perfectly. This is to say that this book is important, that its commitments and accomplishments are rare and always to be kept in mind. --Jake Adam York, from his foreword to the book
Poems of mine have appeared in The Southern Review, Southern Humanities Review, Brooklyn Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Fine Madness, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and in other journals, as well as in The Memphis Sun (Kent State University Press, 2000). My new poetry book Heaven Overland is slated to be published in 2008 by Kennesaw State University Press. Scholarship includes writing on postmodern novelist Steve Erickson (Modern Fiction Studies), mid-20th Century American poet Robert Hayden (MELUS Journal) and contemporary Alabama poet Rodney Jones (Mississippi Quarterly).Courses taught at UM include beginning and advanced creative writing workshops in poetry and prose, literature surveys of American poetry c. 1945-1970, and of the Literature of Northern California, a sophomore survey of literary undergrounds, a major authors course on Whitman and Dickinson, introduction to the English major, a freshman composition course focusing on race and music in America, and a capstone course focusing on literary relations between Self and State.
I also serve as Director of the Montevallo Literary Festival, held on campus each spring, and as an editor in poetry for Red Mountain Review.