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Timothy Murphy is a major American poet who lives on the Great Plains. A fascinating and complicated man and a child of the northern prairie, he writes deceptively simple poetry. Murphy has been a grain and hog farmer and, like Wallace Stevens, an insurance salesman, but the twin joys of his life are poetry and hunting. This double book, Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder, is the first of several volumes of his poetry to be published by the Dakota Institute Press.
Murphyâs poetry explores faith, family, spirituality, death, farming, friendship, love, and sexuality, yet it is profoundly rooted in placeâthe Red River watershed in North Dakota and western Minnesota. He tries to make sense of the wide sweep of the northern plains, to explore how place shapes poetry and how poetry shapes oneâs experience of place.
Murphy is an unpretentious man with a fabulous poetic pedigree. He studied with Robert Penn Warren at Yale, who passed him on to Richard Wilbur with a note saying, âBecause heâs the best man weâve got.â Murphy likens his poetry to the work of Robert Frost, and, like Frost, he prefers to work in rhyme.