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Sheila E. Murphy
Falling in Love
Falling in Love
With You Syntax:
Selected and New Poems

209 pages
ISBN 0-937013-66-8


Here and now, all the senses are present and alive animating a prosody equally at ease working a four-poster structure of four- line stanzas, a mackerel sky of poetic prose, or a cumulus of verse libre. Go haywire, we overhear this address to itself, "Dear S," (Dear Shiela? Dear Syntax? Dear Self? Dear Some- body-out-there?) remembering a set of phantom rules of the game. Mirroring the "leavings of once/ civilized convention," we go Latinate through the desert, "go foraging" in a country haunted vy enigmatic shadow-structures of linguistic ghost towns, prodosic mirage. This writing signals comportment's humor, occasionally wistful, frequently wry, sonic fractals playing with qualifiers ropes into syntax, "but mostly is spatial." Shiela Murphy's Falling in Love Falling in Love With You Syntax marks the traject- ory of over a decade of writing, from With House Silence, through Sad Isn't the Color of Dream, Teth, Tommy and Neil, Pure Mental Breath, A Clove of Gender, to the new and uncollected poems.
--Norma Cole

Welcome indeed is this major collection. Murphy combines an extraordinary level of literary experimentation, daring, and play- fulness with absolute honesty, clarity of vision, intimacy, and comprehensiveness in one of the strongest, clearest, and most distinctive voices writing in English today. "I write like a sieve accepting the rinse travelling through lightspeed. Retain only the moisture then the thought of flow." There is no trace whatsoever in Murphy's work of the strutting and puffing one sometimes sees in innovative writing; nor any of the narcissistic cloyingness one finds in much "confessional" writing. Murphy's poetry comes from the heart and mind, and from the whole of experience with its griefs and delights both. Its sense of intimacy is one in which the readercan find his/her own mind and life. "I practice dropping tautness down into the face whose first emotion is resist." This book of Love Syntax can be read as a voyage of discovery, one which starts in a luminous "house silence" and, with "perfect hearing" indeed, proceeds with surefooted clarity and strength on a journey not only through a burgeoning variety of literary modes and forms, but through a constantly expanding sense of the full- ness, importance, beauty, pain, and wonder of being alive. Murphy is a poet who can use some of the most daring techniques around and show the feeling and consciousness they imply.
--John M. Bennett