Patricia Colleen Murphy wins the 2016 May Swenson Poetry Award

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.13.47 PMJudge 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 DunnStephen 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.

 

Utah State University announces 2016 May Swenson Poetry Award

Utah State University announces 2016 May Swenson Poetry Award

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.”Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.00.05 PM
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 ReviewThe 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

Related link:

University Press

Contact: Michael Spooner, (720) 406-8849, michael.spooner@usu.edu

View the Utah State University Today article online.

HEMMING FLAMES available for Amazon pre-sale

For Immediate Release

Patricia Colleen Murphy launches her award-winning poetry collection, HEMMING FLAMES, in July 2016.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA — Patricia Colleen Murphy is the winner of the 19th annual May Swenson Poetry Award, presented by Utah State University Press and the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Her winning collection of poems, Hemming Flames, will be published by USU Press in July 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 1.53.23 PM“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,” said Stephen Dunn, American poet and 2016 judge for the Swenson competition.

Throughout this haunting first collection, Patricia Colleen Murphy shows how familial mental illness, addiction, and grief can render even the most courageous person helpless. With depth of feeling, clarity of voice, and artful conflation of surrealist image and experience, she delivers vivid descriptions of soul-shaking events with objective narration, creating psychological portraits contained in sharp, bright language and image. With Plathian relentlessness, Hemming Flames explores the deepest reaches of family dysfunction through highly imaginative language and lines that carry even more emotional weight because they surprise and delight. In landscapes as varied as an Ohio back road, a Russian mental institution, a Korean national landmark, and the summit of Kilimanjaro, each poem sews a new stitch on the dark tapestry of a disturbed suburban family’s world.

Patricia Colleen Murphy founded Superstition Review at Arizona State University, where she teaches creative writing and magazine production. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including The Iowa Review, Quarterly West, American Poetry Review, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, Natural Bridge, Black Warrior Review, and others. Her work has received awards from the Associated Writing Programs and the Academy of American Poets, Gulf Coast, Bellevue Literary Review, The Madison Review, Glimmer Train Press, and The Southern California Review. A chapter of her memoir-in-progress was published as a chapbook by New Orleans Review.

Available for pre-order on Amazon

Utah State University Press

Hardcover Price: $19.95

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-551-2

EISBN: 978-1-60732-552-9