I’m thrilled to be reading from Hemming Flames at the Tucson Festival of Books Saturday March 11 with the poet Joni Wallace. I hope to see you there!
I’m thrilled to be reading from Hemming Flames at the Tucson Festival of Books Saturday March 11 with the poet Joni Wallace. I hope to see you there!
Many thanks to Dante DiStefano and Arcadia Magazine for this interview.
Eight women in higher education, including Patricia Murphy, were recognized by the WIA report. View the article here and on their site.
Jun 02, 2016
Debora Rodrigues, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Houston, received the 2016 Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Research Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Her research is focused on technologies to reduce energy costs in water and wastewater treatment.
Dr. Rodrigues is a native of Brazil and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Sao Paulo. She earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan State University.
Patricia Colleen Murphy, a senior lecturer in creative writing at Arizona State University, has been announced as the winner of the 19th May Swenson Poetry Award from Utah State University. As a result, she will receive a cash prize and her poetry collection, Hemming Flames, will be published by Utah State University Press later this year.
Murphy is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she majored in English and French. She earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Arizona State University.
Sharmila Majumdar, professor of radiology and the director of the Musculoskeletal Quantitative Imaging Research Group at the University of California, San Francisco, received the 2016 Gold Medal from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Dr. Majumdar was honored for her innovative contributions to the development of quantitative imaging methods.
Professor Majumdar joined the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco in 1989. She holds a Ph.D. in engineering and applied science from Yale University.
Erika Zimmerman, associate professor of athletic training and director of the School of Health Sciences at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, has been selected to receive the Dan Libera Award from the National Athletic Trainer’s Association at the organization’s annual meeting in Baltimore on June 23.
Dr. Zimmerman joined the faculty at Western Carolina University in 2015 after teaching at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. She holds a master’s degree from Indiana State University and a Ph.D. in leadership studies from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
Karen Bankston, associate dean for clinical practice, partnership, and community engagement in the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati, has been chosen to receive the Mary Mahoney Award from the American Nurses Association.
Dr. Bankston holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Kent State University in Ohio. She earned a Ph.D. in nursing research and organizational behavior from the University of Cincinnati.
Pam Soltis, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida, will share the 2016 Darwin-Wallace Medal from the Linnean Society of London with her husband Doug, a Distinguished Professor of biology at the university. The award honors major accomplishments in the field of evolutionary biology. The couple’s research focuses on the evolutionary diversification of flowering plants.
Pam Soltis also serves as curator at the Florida Museum and as director of the university’s Biodiversity Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Kansas.
Shirley T. Frye, president of the board of directors of the North Carolina A&T State University Foundation, is having the YWCA building in Greensboro, North Carolina, named in her honor. She served on the national YWCA board for 20 years.
Frye is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and previously served as assistant vice chancellor for development and university relations and as executive assistant to the chancellor.
Cecilia Mo, an assistant professor of political science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, was selected as the winner of the award for the Best Article on Political Behavior, presented by the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior section of the American Political Science Association. She will be honored at the section’s annual meeting in Philadelphia on September 2.
Dr. Mo is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She holds master’s degrees from Loyola Marymount University, Harvard University, and Stanford University. She earned a Ph.D. in political economics from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
“These are searing reports from the far side of the human dimension, acts of pure familial survival—charged, compelling, complex. We read searching with the speaker for an answer to the singular question one poem poses, ‘Where are you, gravity?’ These are hard-felt, intimate, and genuine.”
— Alberto Ríos, poet laureate of Arizona and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
March 8, 2016
Sometimes getting even the most exciting news can be anticlimactic. (Curse you, caller ID!)
That was the case for ASU’s Patricia Colleen Murphy, who was at home in her Phoenix kitchen making a pot of soup when a momentary glance at her ringing phone signaled that she’d won this year’s prestigious May Swenson Poetry Award, a competition organized by University Press of Colorado and its imprint, Utah State University Press. Recipients of the annual Swenson Award, which honors one of America’s most provocative and vital writers, receive a cash prize and a book contract.
“I saw it was a Colorado number and, it was strange, but I immediately knew,” said Murphy (pictured above), a senior lecturer in the College of Letters and Sciences at ASU’s Polytechnic campus and founding editor of the student-produced literary magazine Superstition Review.
This will be Murphy’s first book — though many of her poems have been published in respected literary journals and taken numerous honors. The collection of 60-some poems, titled “Hemming Flames,” will be published and released by Utah State University Press this summer.
“I had the manuscript out at about 10 contests,” she said. “It had finaled at other competitions in recent years, and two separate publishers had each had it for two years before ultimately saying, ‘It’s ready to go, but it’s not for us.’ So I knew the work was getting close.”
Contest judge Stephen Dunn — an award-winning poet, teacher and essayist — selected Murphy’s work from among 27 finalists chosen by professional poets and university teachers of poetry.
Dunn praised the collection (calling it “wonderfully disturbing”) and, highlighting its title, which comes from the book’s final line, he wrote:
“… As good titles do, it provides a way of understanding what have been the book’s necessities. The last two lines are, ‘Yesterday I invented fire. / Today I’m hemming flames.’ The ‘today’ speaks to almost every poem Murphy artfully offers us, as if the act of writing itself is an attempt to hem what can’t easily be hemmed.”
That poem, Murphy said, voiced how she felt after both of her parents died within five months of each other.
The work on the whole is gut-wrenching and can be difficult to read, she admits, because it honestly addresses painful issues in her life, including the impact of a parent’s mental illness.
The collection of poems — a few of which she has been reworking for 20 years — turned a corner several years ago after she decided, with a push from her writers’ group, that she needed to be brave enough to deeply address the emotional material.
“When we write halfway, we get stuck in a place where our work is less impactful,” she said. “I took risks in this book that I didn’t take before.”
Murphy knows risk. She has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and last summer ran the 105-mile Tour du Mont Blanc trail in the Alps over six days.
As a mentor, she tries to instill in her writing students and Superstition Review editors the understanding that pursuing a writing life is like a marathon, with identifiable steps in training and building endurance.
“My professional journey as a poet and author is part of what I want to teach my students. This is what being a professional author looks like,” said Murphy, who earned her MFA in 1996 from ASU’s creative writing program in the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
She makes the professional writers’ experience accessible and transparent to them from every possible angle.
Last summer, Murphy wrote in real-time on her social-media networks about her 25-day residency at the Ragdale artists’ community, which offers writers, visual artists, composers, architects and other creatives a serene place to spend focused time on work.
“A lot of students don’t know what an artist colony is. It was thrilling to be able to share my experiences at the residency with them, and it was even more thrilling when five months later I had a book contract because of some of the work I did while there,” Murphy said. “It’s important for me to share information about how to get published, like ‘You can’t do it without other people giving you feedback,’ and, ‘There are institutions out there that will support you.’ ”
For ASU’s recent Night of the Open Door festivities at the Polytechnic campus, she and Superstition Review editors organized a panel of professional writers to talk about their career paths. She also takes students each year to the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference and Bookfair.
Since launching Superstition Review in 2008, she has given more than 275 ASU student interns not only tangible, resume-worthy experience in publishing (see the video segment at 6:00) but also countless opportunities to “peek behind the curtain,” interviewing “big-name” and emerging writers and artists about their work and lives.
Murphy said the response from her students about her winning the Swenson Award has been very meaningful: “They’re about as excited for me as I am for me!”
Her professional colleagues are similarly elated.
“Trish has made a life committed to poetry, and to sharing it with the world at large,” noted fellow poet and ASU alumnus Robert Krut in an email message for this story. Krut, who is also part of Murphy’s virtual writers’ group, teaches writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Trish is a great poet, a great supporter of the literary community, and a warm, encouraging person,” Krut said. “Needless to say, there are a lot of us out there thrilled about her award and book release.”
Here is Murphy’s poem that inspired the book’s title:
First I look at some Eliot, which puts me
straight to sleep for a lovely hour or so.
I just can’t do it. What a prig. But I’m glad I try.
Since it’s hard, I decide to write one of those
poems that gets by on a few clever ploys.
It starts with a dream that I’ll try to pass off
as not a dream. I’m stealing a Danish and eating it
in a parking lot while dodging cars driven
by nonagenarians who remind me of my parents.
Sh**. Everything reminds me of them.
Like trying to read Eliot, blah blah blah,
and all I can think of is Mom and Dad in urns.
Then I see a man with his small son.
I see a tender look between them. That hurts
like hell. But I don’t even need that image.
Just say man or son. Just say woman or daughter.
Doctor put me on the stare-pills.
I can’t feel my distal parts.
Yesterday I invented fire.
Today I’m hemming flames.
— by Patricia Colleen Murphy
Article written by:
University Press of Colorado announces Patricia Colleen Murphy as the winner of the 2016 May Swenson Poetry Prize. Her award has been announced in a press release by University Press of Colorado, a press announcement by University Press of Colorado, and a May Swenson Poetry Award announcement.
Judge for the 2016 award was Stephen Dunn, American poet, teacher, and essayist. The Swenson competition receives hundreds of entries each year from across the United States and several countries abroad. Dunn selected Murphy’s work from among 27 finalists chosen by a panel of professional poets and university teachers of poetry. Dunn had this to say about Ms. Murphy’s work:
The curious title of Patricia Murphy’s wonderfully disturbing Hemming Flames doesn’t become clear to us until the last poem in the book. And, as good titles do, it provides a way of understanding what have been the book’s necessities. The last two lines are, “Yesterday I invented fire. / Today I’m hemming flames.” The “today” speaks to almost every poem Murphy artfully offers us, as if the act of writing itself is an attempt to hem what can’t easily be hemmed.
Stephen Dunn is Distinguished Professor (emeritus) of creative writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and has also taught at Columbia University, NYU, University of Michigan, Princeton, and the University of Washington. He is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, including the most recent Lines of Defense (Norton, 2014), and Here and Now (Norton, 2011). His poem “The Imagined” is included in The Best of the Best American Poetry: 1988-2012 (Scribners, 2013), and he has been the featured poet in The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, and The Cortland Review.
Stephen has been the recipient of many awards including The Pulitzer Prize for Different Hours in 2001, The National Poetry Series in 1986 forLocal Time, Academy Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts & Letters, and The Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, three NEA Creative Writing Fellowships, a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Levinson and Oscar Blumenthal Prizes from Poetry, the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, and the James Wright Prize from Mid-American Review, among others.
The Room and the World: Essays on the Poet Stephen Dunn, a book of twenty-six essays by poets and critics on his life and work, edited by Laura McCullough, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2013.
Patricia Colleen Murphy, of Phoenix, Arizona, is the winner of the 19th annual May Swenson Poetry Award, presented by Utah State University Press and the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Murphy will receive a cash award of $1,000, and her winning collection of poems, Hemming Flames, will be published by USU Press in the summer of 2016.
Judge for the 2016 award was Stephen Dunn, American poet, teacher and essayist and winner of a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The Swenson competition receives hundreds of entries each year from across the United States and several countries abroad. Dunn selected Murphy’s work from among 27 finalists chosen by a panel of professional poets and university teachers of poetry. Dunn described Murphy’s work.
“The curious title of Patricia Murphy’s wonderfully disturbing ‘Hemming Flames’ doesn’t become clear to us until the last poem in the book. . . . As if the act of writing itself is an attempt to hem what can’t easily be hemmed.”
A well-published poet, Murphy holds degrees from Miami University and Arizona State University. She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University where she is the founding editor of the literary magazine Superstition Review. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Iowa Review, Quarterly West and American Poetry Review. Her poems have received awards fromGlimmer Train Press, The Southern California Review, Gulf Coast, The Madison Review and Bellevue Literary Review.
Dunn is Distinguished Professor (emeritus) of creative writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and has also taught at Columbia University, NYU, University of Michigan, Princeton and the University of Washington. He is the author of 16 collections of poetry, including the most recent Lines of Defense (Norton, 2014) and Here and Now (Norton, 2011). His poem “The Imagined” is included in The Best of the Best American Poetry: 1988-2012 (Scribners, 2013), and he has been the featured poet in The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review and The Cortland Review.
The May Swenson Poetry Award is named for May Swenson and honors her as one of America’s most provocative and vital writers. During her long career, Swenson was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. She left a legacy of 50 years of writing when she died in 1989. She is buried in Logan, Utah, her hometown.
Utah State University Press, a division of USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library and imprint of the University Press of Colorado, is an award-winning scholarly publisher in several academic fields.
More acclaim for Hemming Flames:
These are searing reports from the far side of the human dimension, acts of pure familial survival — charged, compelling, complex. We read searching with the speaker for an answer to the singular question one poem poses, “Where are you, gravity?” These are hard-felt, intimate, and genuine.
— Alberto Ríos, poet laureate of Arizona
This book isn’t trying to make you feel better — a mother’s many suicide attempts, violence, extreme insecurity — this book is devastating. And it is exactly Murphy’s refusal of the blithe, and her refusal to move or look away from agony, that might make our world less of a disaster.
—Sarah Vap, author of Viability
Contact: Michael Spooner, (720) 406-8849, email@example.com
View the Utah State University Today article online.