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About Peter E. Murphy, Founder

About | Books | Press | Online Highlights of Peter's Work | Peter for Hire | Contact Peter

Peter E. Murphy was born in Wales and grew up in New York City where he operated heavy equipment, managed a nightclub and drove a cab. He is the author of seven books and chapbooks including Stubborn Child, a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize.

Peter's recent essays and poems appear in The Common, Diode, Guernica, The Hawaii Pacific Review, The Lindenwood Review, Mead, The New Welsh Reader, Passager, Rattle and Rhino. His unique poetry writing assignments have been collected in Challenges for the Delusional.

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 Stockton University. He is also the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University which offers the Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway, Inservice Solutions Professional Development and other programs for poets, writers and teachers.

Peter's Writing Getaways are known for helping writers develop their craft.
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.

Stubborn Child, poems by Peter E. MurphyStubborn Child
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
From the Home News Tribune
From Ideas, The Newsletter of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities

$14, Available from Jane Street Press and Amazon

Thorough & Efficient, poems by Peter E. MurphyThorough & Efficient
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 Jane Street Press and Amazon

Challenges for the Delusional
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 they've inspired.

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 Jane Street Press and Amazon

Selected Press

● October 29: Reflections on Sandy - WHYY-FM NewsWorks
● October 15: 5 Questions with Peter Murphy - NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase
● June 28: Dodge Foundation Interview with Peter Murphy from The Dodge Blog

● Spring 2010 issue: Peter's Principles from New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine

● May 19: Revise! Revise! Revise! from The New York Times

Online Highlights of Peter Murphy's Work

Peter E. Murphy at London's Poetry Library

Selected poems:
"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:
Of Millionaires & Mariners: Poetry Across Time, Curriculum and Life
Breaking Through the Abstract

Peter for Hire

Peter E. Murphy at Shakespeare's Globe in London

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.

Contact Peter

Peter Murphy

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