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Very Far North Hardcover – December 31, 2002
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More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
His poems are metered and rhymed, and the majority are short, in the range of 4 to 15 lines, although there are quite a few over 20 lines. If you want to preview his poems, a selection can be found on my site, called "The Poem Tree" (do a Google search to find the URL).
Very Far North is a fine collection of (mostly) short poems, deeply rooted in his experience as a farmer in the American Midwest. It encapsulates the wisdom and humour of a man who has spent his life on the land, close to nature.
His work is characterised by simple, clear imagery and precise thought, as in this moving tribute to Robert Penn Warren:
Red Like Him
He was tutor to a lad
he never really knew -
only the shock of red
like sunrise on a slough.
Out for an autumn walk
I hear the great geese cry
and hail a red-tailed hawk
spiralling up the sky.
He's also a master of the sonnet form. This poem won the prestigious Nemerov Award. It's quoted by Anthony Hecht in his introduction to Very Far North, and is one of the finest contemporary sonnets I know, bearing comparison with Robert Frost:
The Track Of A Storm
Bastille Day, 1995
We grieve for the twelve trees we lost last night,
pillars of our community, old friends
and confidants dismembered in our sight,
stripped of their crowns by the unruly winds.
There were no baskets to receive their heads,
no women knitting by the guillotines,
only two sleepers rousted from their beds
by fusillades of hailstones on the screens.
Her nest shattered, her battered hatchlings drowned,
a stunned and silent junko watches me
chainsawing limbs from corpses of the downed,
clearing the understory of debris
while supple saplings which survived the blast
lay claim to light and liberty at last.
If you like these poems you'll love the book.
With this collection, the same weaknesses manifest themselves. Much more reminiscent of Robert Francis (hard to find anthologized or cited much anymore), and nowhere near the level of mastery, depth, profundity, multi-layered dimensions of Frost.
Uneven in quality. Some genuinely touching and heartfelt moments; some gravity; some wit. Some original music on occasion. But overall lacking the inspiration and sublime artistry of Wilbur, Hecht, Hardy, Betjeman, Larkin and the magnificent short pieces of Yeats, Auden, Robinson, Housman, de la Mare, Masefield, W. Owen, Sassoon, C. Rossetti, Bogan, Wylie, E. Jennings, Vikram Seth, Tim Steele, Dana Gioia, Heaney, Wordsworth, Blake, Geo. Herbert, Glyn Maxwell.
It is hoped the next collection will provide enough maturing, development, progression, freshness, and elements of what Harold Bloom in his just-out book calls 'Groundbreaking Genius' to rate the poetry higher on the rereadable-memorability scale
Others deal with bird hunting, and business failures, but only a few have "gay" themes, among them a few man-boy poems, which I found very erotic, though somewhat over the top, even for my tastes.
I suppose my biggest problem with the poems are their forced rhymes, paddiness of diction, and artificial tone. Murphy never comes off as sincere. He knows his meters, but he sings like a queen in a bar full of breeders.
He should write solely for his own kind on topics such as gay pride and gay love.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A solid collection from one of the more distinctive voices to emerge from New Formalism. Murphy's terse style does not always work, but it does often enough, and, in places, the... Read morePublished on May 12, 2008 by Quincy R. Lehr
This book lacks any sense of musicality and reeks of extreme amateurism, its sentiments are trite and its allusions to boyhood homosexuality are not very subtle, indeed I would say... Read morePublished on August 19, 2007 by Derek J. Brown
Despite the highfalutin praise by the late Anthony Hecht in its foreword, Very Far North is not a very good book. Read morePublished on September 2, 2005 by Miles Mathews
Timothy Murphy is one of the upcoming "New Formalists," having debuted with his first book in his mid 40s. Read morePublished on May 13, 2004 by May Swenson
This is the second full collection of poems by the North Dakota millionaire Timothy Murphy. As in the first collection "The Gift of Deed", we are reminded that he considers... Read morePublished on March 27, 2004 by Jerry Quarry
In 1998 Tim Murphy's first collection, The Deed of Gift, was published. And it is a brilliant collection. This year Murphy's second collection, Very Far North, has arrived. Read morePublished on June 30, 2002 by firstname.lastname@example.org