Prologue to the Impossible
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On January 1, 2017, Prolific Press will publish Body Politic. My book-length collection of poems attempts to understand the various struggles which have engaged Americans over the last 20 years.
Cover remarks state:
Rarely do I like explicitly political poetry, yet Richard Murphy may have convinced me otherwise. Murphy shows in Body Politic how poems can be polemical without being didactic, philosophical without throwing out any of a poems linguistic or moral core. Murphy manages
to be both heartfelt and playful, ironic and sincere, language-driven and wild with the material world. Truly worth savoring a few times both as individual poems and as an entire collection.
-- C. Derick Varn, editor of Former People
Rich Murphy’s Body Politic delivers a litany of lyrical and surreal protests against the “conspicuous unsaid [that] rules the state for the mind” of a nation addicted to perpetual war and processed news. Murphy’s songs of struggle are strong medicine for “the subject and the drunken, resilient question mark behind the eyes.” Body Politic is a diagnosis and antidote for the cancer of our times. “No one with a breath escapes.” These are poems of resistance and revival.
—W. Scott Howard, University of Denver
Rhythmic, conscious, experimental, and sometimes surreal, juxtapositional accumulation of ideas and things, in Body Politic, reveal and preserve an unyielding historic perspective.
There is wisdom and heart connection in these poems. A sympathetic humanity in the crush of sorrow, in the almost comic succession of tarnished pop culture icons on the “SS Lollipop”, and relief through the always present and renewing breath of nature, though it is a nature under siege.
With each poem we understand more clearly the inevitable consequence of a blind pursuit of wealth and power grabbing. We know where we have been and where we most likely are going.
In these poems there is compassion conveyed in a way that only poetry can allow, and it is a force that drives Murphy towards what often seems an unavoidable conclusion, that the world as we know it will only secure an apocalyptic destiny unless there is a transformation. There is something we must do.
A macabre Life of Gargantua and Pentagruel, the poems found in Body Politic are the essential poems of today, a persistent and passionate fugue, an irony, something we need, an elixir for the malaise of paralysis that has engulfed an increasingly terrified humanity. We only have to consider the facts. We need to read these poems.
-- Michael Rothenberg