: Sheila Murphy : Full-Figured Rhapsody : a dusi/e-chap :

Sheila Murphy's chap was the first to arrive in part with Dusie's inaugural kollektiv chap-making /sharing project this spring.
As a reader, I first came across Murphy's work at Faux Press a site I was very excited to discover with some equally fab e-chaps to peruse through and which obviously had great influence on this dusi/e-chap project.

So, I was pleased when poet Lars Palm submitted a response poem to Murphy's Sentences Finishes on the Others Lips, called 'on stealing lips' After this issue debuted, I was again happy to receive a collaborative contribution consisting of some wonderful Ghazals to Dusie3 by Sheila Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt.

In way of reading poetry, as well as editing Dusie online, it is most surely such serendipitous finds, regarding poets and their poetic works and projects of writers like Murphy, who really make it worth all the work.

Full-Figured Rhapsody is surely that, in both form and creation. A song seemingly epic fraught between relations, experiences time and perhaps even various existences which are the natural result of which. The language of which is both lyrical as well as challenging and depositing its reader into a kind of meditative/metaphysical state. Murphy's writing seems laced with a sort private symbolism which for me does not alienate but actually intrigues a totally different kind of read/ing. For me these poems do require some time. Don't let the chap aspect of this project fool you, this is one tough little selection, 21 pages, beautiful in its odd yet wonderful & invigorating use of English language and the poet's own relationship to her given page.


poetzie said...

Ditto. What I admire most about this chap is the truth it contains, even in it's bizarre trucks and turns. "The day is nice, the roadways, clear, the helmut of my sleep mimics the way near-violence is clipped out of the flower." We believe the speaker because of the way she chooses to represent things: in celebration of their complexity. "My sexuality's a matter of compliance. Let's be clear that this for me is work. There is a cozy split infection we call personality that lets me place my head upon the softest warmth and let that not be you." I admire the complexity of the "you," a complexity I strive for in my own work as well. The mixture of the prose pieces and the verse pieces create a really interesting movement through the chappie, one that I'm not yet able to comment on. I do like it, whatever it's doing. . .

Scott Glassman said...

I too, love the interlacing of prose poems and narrow lyrics, giving us varying degrees of transparency and delightful linguistic highwire acts and congested flowerbeds of language.

I'm glad Mackenzie quoted the line: "the way near-violence is clipped out of the flower" because as part of the introductory poem, it sets the tone for the entire chap-- there is a danger creeping in everywhere, one that threatens logical, declarative statements of the traditional "I". Like when you are in a hypnagogic state, and you have that strange merging of fluid dreamlike leaps and coherent thought, as if you were at the point in a subterranean cave where fresh water meets saltwater.

There is music flowering everywhere in Murphy's work, within the language's sound and in its connotations. As one of Beethoven's symphonies that dives into moody, tense interstices, before it becomes idyllic again.

Stunning lines like "We fibrillate our notions like the effervescent back light of the crow" abound. The trailing last line on the prose poems adds a poignancy and a kind of overshadowing that conducts your final emotion about the piece, often into further estrangement.

This is an intensely personal chap where the "I" heads-up released torrents of language, there seeming always a struggle between letting the thing spiral out of control and keeping its authority in the confines of some logic, some factual mood, or generalizable pronouncement on gender or love or music.

I find this to be an especially telling passage:

When there's a poem I'm not about

To waiver on my fear of flexibility

The ripple tries not to hurt the status quo

For it is dutiful, we know exactly

How to dress for it

While it describes the tension going on throughout, it also adds an interesting twist of sarcasm (I take it) at the end, for most of these poems are actually lived "on" the ripple and there is, to put it simply, no way of dressing for its wild symphonic leaps. Just on the next page, you have a stripped down stream of consciousness which on second reading appears as an acutely carved lyric:

fire station(s)
feats, gloat
points in

won't just

railroad meta-
phors indignify
their leisure weeds

I feel there is much more that could be said about Murphy's chap, especially if one were to do a close textual reading of one or two poems, to extract all its music and the interrelational complexity would be a very worthwhile endeavor, and lead to other doorways into the obfuscated "I".