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Sheila Murphy

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Name  Sheila Murphy

Sheila Murphy

Sheila murphy crawford introduces a dance by the murphy irish dancers

Sheila E. Murphy (born 1951 in Mishawaka, Indiana) is an American text and visual poet who has been writing and publishing actively since 1978. She is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. Green Integer Press. 2003. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


Sheila Murphy Sheila Murphy USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

She earned:

  • B.A. degree (magna cum laude, music/English) from Nazareth College, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • M.A. degree (English Language and Literature, Michigan College Fellow) from The University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. degree (Educational Administration and Supervision, Emphasizing Community Education, Charles Stewart Mott Fellow) from Arizona State University.
  • With Beverly Carver, Murphy co-founded and coordinated the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Poetry Series for twelve years. Murphy has engaged in a broad range of poetic styles for more than three decades of writing and publication.

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    The emphasis on sound and the use of neologisms and cadences derive from study of music theory and performance. These same linguistic processes are evident in Murphy's prose poetry. As Jen Tynes noted in a review of Proof of Silhouettes published in the February 2, 2005, issue of Verse, "The varied structure of the poems creates a super-awareness of prose versus broken line that seems organically fitting--[sic] the reader is never quite lulled into recognition of the landscape or movement of this book, and yet it manages to move together, to speak a whole thing with clarity but without oversimplification. The form of the book as a whole creates...its own considerate and considerable relationship between lines of verse and prose, progression and procession..."

    In referring to Murphy's prose poems in Letters to Unfinished J., Simon DeDeo (Rhubarb is Susan, Feb. 2006) wrote that

    Murphy has the sensual fluency of Gertrude Stein..." [and possesses] "... a decided openness that leads to the sensation of risk, of stopping the torrents to speak directly ... that maintains a distinctly non-narrative attitude, filling the writing ... [I]t is in that pouring that we get the whole Murphy ... the Murphy who wants to point out, to judge, to indicate.

    Recently the prose poem has been the form of choice for Murphy, who coined the term for a new kind of prose poem, the "American Haibun", which is quite separate from the traditional Japanese form. "American Haibun" is being written by other innovative, English language poets, suggesting a possible trend.


    Sheila Murphy writes, "Collaborative projects allow a writer or visual poet to participate in a larger creative mechanism than the usual self, placing the writer in a new, larger system that brings about art that is different from that created by either of the individuals involved. While separate from the individual writer's work, collaboration strengthens muscles that can benefit the individual writer, but not not bear a direct relationship to the writer's individual projects."

    She has or is currently collaborating with poets and artists such as Douglas Barbour, Dan Waber, Scott Glassman, Charles Alexander, mIEKAL aND, Lewis LaCook, Peter Ganick, K.S. Ernst, C. Mehrl Bennett, John M. Bennett, Scott Helmes, Al Ackerman, and David Baratier.


  • Ghazals 1-59 and Other Poems (with Michelle Greenblatt). Unlikely Books. 2017.
  • Continuations 2 (with Douglas Barbour). The University of Alberta Press. 2012.
  • American Ghazals. Otoliths Press. 2012.
  • Noun that I've Been Watching. White Sky Books. 2012.
  • American Haibun. White Sky Ebooks. 2012.
  • The Daylight Sections. White Sky Books. 2011.
  • Beyond the Bother of Sunlight (with Lewis LaCook). BlazeVOX Books. 2011.
  • Reverse Haibun. White Sky Books. 2011.
  • Circumsanct. White Sky Books. 2011.
  • Toccatas in the Key of D. Blue Lion Books. 2010.
  • Quaternity (with Scott Glassman). Otoliths Press. 2009.
  • how to spell the sound of everything (with mIEKAL aND). Xerox Sutra Editions. 2009.
  • Collected Chapbooks. Blue Lion Books. 2008.
  • Parsings. Arrum Press (Finland). 2008.
  • The Case of the Lost Objective Case. Otoliths Press. 2007.
  • Continuations (with Douglas Barbour). The University of Alberta Press. 2006.
  • Incessant Seeds. Pavement Saw Press. 2005.
  • Proof of Silhouettes. Stride Press (UK). 2004.
  • Concentricity. Pleasure Boat Studio: A Literary Press. 2004.
  • Green Tea with Ginger. Potes & Poets Press. 2003.
  • Letters to Unfinished J. Green Integer Press. 2003.
  • The Stuttering of Wings. Stride Press (UK), 2002.
  • The Indelible Occasion. Potes & Poets Press, 2000.
  • Falling in Love Falling in Love With You Syntax: Selected and New Poems. Potes & Poets Press, 1997.
  • A Clove of Gender. Stride Press (UK), 1995.
  • Pure Mental Breath. Gesture Press (Toronto), 1994.
  • Tommy and Neil. Sun/Gemini Press (Tucson, Arizona), 1993.
  • Teth. Chax Press, 1991.
  • Sad Isn't the Color of the Dream. Stride Press (UK), 1991.
  • With House Silence. Stride Press (UK), 1987.
  • Anthologies

  • Litscapes: Collected US Writings 2015. Steerage Press, 2015.
  • Yesterday's Music Today. The Knives, Forks, and Spoons Press, 2015.
  • In Like Company: Salt River Review and Porch Anthology. Mad Hat Press, 2015.
  • The Art of Survival: an Anthology. Kings Estate Press, 2014.
  • Reading the Difficulties.. The University of Alabama Press, 2014.
  • 147 Million Orphans. Gradiant Books, 2014.
  • 1000 Views of "Girl Singing". Leafe Press, 2009.
  • Visiting Wallace: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Wallace Stevens. University of Iowa Press, 2009.
  • Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh. Salt Publishing, 2009.
  • Anthology: Spidertangle. Xexoxial Editions, 2009.
  • Visio-Textual Selectricity. Runaway Spoon Press, 2008.
  • The Hay(na)ku Anthology, Volume II. Meritage Press, USA. xPress(ed). Finland. 2008.
  • >2: An Anthology of New Collaborative Poetry. Editor, with M.L. Weber. Sugar Mule Press, 2007.
  • The First Hay(na)ku Antholgy. Meritage Press, 2005.
  • Fever Dreams: Contemporary Arizona Poetry. The University of Arizona Press, 1997.
  • The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry,1993—1994; 1994—1995. Sun & Moon Press.
  • Primary Trouble: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry. Talisman House Press, 1996.
  • A Curious Architecture: A Selection of Contemporary Prose Poems. Stride (UK), 1996.
  • The Art of Practice: 45 Contemporary Poets. Potes & Poets Press, 1994.
  • Exhibitions of visual poetry and art

  • Lists: an International Special Exhibition. Minneapolis, 2014. June, 2014.
  • Visual Poetry Exhibition. Ráday Könyvesház. Budapest, Hungary. April, 2010.
  • Asemic Exhibit in Smolensk. Russia. April 17 – May 1, 2010.
  • Explanations of Signs. Collaborative Paintings with Rupert Loydell. University College Falmouth. 2009.
  • Visual Poetry Etched on Glass Wall. Rondo Community Library and Housing Project, Minneapolis, 2006.
  • Blends and Bridges. Cleveland, Ohio, 2006.
  • Still Life with Words: an International Exhibition. Gallery 308, Minneapolis, 2005.
  • SoundVisionVisionSound III. Nave Gallery, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2005.
  • Infinity. Dudley House. Harvard University, 2005.
  • Vispo at Durban Segnini Gallery. Miami, Florida, 2005.
  • Visual poetry book publications

  • Yes It Is (with John M. Bennett). Luna Bisonte Prods. 2014
  • 2 Juries + 2 Storeys = 4 Stories Toujours (with K.S. Ernst). Xerolage 55 from Xexoxial Editions. 2013.
  • This Is Visual Poetry. 2010.
  • Permutoria (with K.S. Ernst). Luna Bisonte Prods. 2008.
  • References

    Sheila Murphy Wikipedia

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