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Peter E. Murphy
was born in Wales and grew up in New York City where he operated
heavy equipment, managed a night club, and drove a cab. He is
the author of Stubborn Child, a finalist for the 2006
Paterson Poetry Prize, and a chapbook of poems, Thorough &
Efficient. His unique poetry writing assignments have been
collected in Challenges for the Delusional (2012), published by Jane Street Press. His poems and essays have appeared in
The American Book
Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Literary Review,
The Shakespeare Quarterly, Witness and hundreds of other
He is a consultant to organizations including Arts
Horizons, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the Philadelphia Arts
in Education Partnership and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and has been
an educational advisor to Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers and
other PBS poetry programs.
Peter has received awards and fellowships from The Atlantic
Center for the Arts, Yaddo, The Folger Shakespeare Library, the
White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the New
Jersey Council on the Arts. Retired from Atlantic City High
School, he continues to teach poetry writing at the Richard
Stockton College of New Jersey. He is also the founder/director
of Murphy Writing Seminars which offers the
Winter Poetry & Prose
Inservice Solutions Professional Development
and other programs for
poets, writers and teachers.
Peter's Writing Getaways are known for helping writers develop
See what's coming up.
"Peter Murphy is an inspirational force of nature! He is wonderful at
fostering a warm, inviting environment in which writing comes easily. The
writing community is blessed to have his leadership and presence."
~ Shore Thing Writing Getaway Participant
Peter is the author two books of poems, Stubborn
Child (2005), a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize, and
Thorough & Efficient
(2008), and his unique poetry writing assignments have been collected in
Challenges for the Delusional (2012), all from Jane Street Press.
Jane Street Press, 2005
Finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize
"Peter Murphy's superb Stubborn Child unflinchingly enacts and
examines his own painful childhood, then moves to the often damaged and
compromised lives of the high school students he teaches. Like the best
delineators of unhappiness, he also brings humor to his task, the dark humor
of a survivor. And indeed this is a survivor's book, both transforming and
transformative — in the end, Murphy the man able to love and affirm, Murphy
the poet able to raise the unruly and the tawdry to the level of art."
~ Stephen Dunn
Reviews of Stubborn Child
Home News Tribune
Ideas, The Newsletter of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities
$14, Available from
Jane Street Press, 2008
In Thorough & Efficient, Peter Murphy gives us a real depiction of
the malaise of so-called "inner city" education. Murphy, who taught for 29
years at Atlantic City High School, is relentlessly accurate and often funny
as he renders one indelible moment after another. In doing so he replaces
the Hollywood script of the "hero" teacher, sacrificing everything so the
orchestra can rise at the incipient miracle, with the realities of violence,
indifference, intractable corruption, and everyday effort, skill, and
decency. If there's any heroism here, it is that Murphy never romanticizes
his job or his students, which is probably why he lasted so long.
$10, Available from
Buy both of Peter's books for $20, postage included.
What a deal!
Jane Street Press, 2012
This anthology compiles a selection of
Peter Murphy's infamous
and eccentric poetry-writing prompts. For 18 years he's shared these
prompts at his annual
Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway in New Jersey, and this collection
features a sampling of the many diverse and wonderful poems that
From the Foreword by Stephen Dunn
"Peter's approach to teaching poetry writing is unique and
uniquely effective…. [his] quirky prompts have given way to poems
that range from humorous to serious, from affectionate to nostalgic.
They'll take their place among the workshops, panels, good meals,
and late night dancing—the pleasures that abound at the Getaway."
Learn more and try one of the writing prompts
$14, Available from
Reflections on Sandy
- WHYY-FM NewsWorks
5 Questions with Peter Murphy
- NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase
Dodge Foundation Interview with Peter Murphy from The
Spring 2010 issue:
Peter's Principles from New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine
Revise! Revise! Revise! from
The New York Times
"Stairs to All Levels," "The Modern Economy"
and "Local Birds"
in Sleet Magazine
"Glass Box" in Mead Magazine
"At the New Age Hotel" and "Can't Dance" in The Cortland Review
"Baptism" in The Cortland Review
"Long Night at
the Parsippany Hotel" in Pif Magazine
"Llywelwyn's Dog" on Verse Daily
Selected creative nonfiction:
"The Contender" and "Proclamation" in Toska Magazine
Selected essays on writing poetry:
Three Lesson Plans for Teaching Poetry from Bill Moyers'
Fooling with Words
Of Millionaires & Mariners: Poetry
Across Time, Curriculum and
Breaking Through the Abstract
Book Peter Murphy.
Have poet—will travel.
Easy, but not cheap!
Bad jokes, very cheap.
Peter is a dynamic presenter who regularly offers craft workshops, talks
on topics such as "The Business of Writing" and readings of his poetry. If
you would would like him to work with your group,
contact us for availability and pricing.