Yvonne C. Murphy was winner of the 2010 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Competition, and her collection of poems Aviaries has now been published by CWP under a cover bearing a detail from my Saint Kevin and the Blackbird painting, Paper Garden. (My congratulations to Lesley Landis and everyone at Carolina Wren for making such a lovely job of the design.) Murphy’s work was selected for the  award by Minnie Bruce Pratt, who writes of the poet:

“These exuberant poems leap through questionings into the connections and contradictions between art, desire, technology and nature. The poet says “Discourse is not life—or is it?‟ and proceeds to balance on the power-line tightrope of an answer, to whirl us through the dizzying loop of William Ferris into the landscaped cage of a jazz-scatting Mona Lisa and always back to the contemporary streets, subway tracks, wild parrots, and blabbing, sighing, blissful, witnessing polyglot people of her New York. She invites us to enjoy the cyclonic rides of “deliberate structure‟; then she bends those thin bars and asks us to slip through with her to be part of a landscape that is mortality, and is eternity.”

Yvonne C. Murphy is an Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at SUNY Empire State College in Old Westbury, New York.  She received an M.A. from New York University, a Ph.D. from The University of Houston and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry from Stanford University.  Her poems have been published widely in U.S. and Canadian anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Black Warrior Review, Literal Latte and Gulf Coast, among many others.  She lives in Queens, NY, with her husband and daughter.

11 thoughts on “aviaries

  1. Clive–

    Thank YOU for the gorgeous painting and–everyone–there are line drawings by Clive at each section page. The designer also was able to fit a smaller image of the whole painting on the back of the book. It is just breathtaking!!!!


    • It was my pleasure to provide an image for the book cover Yvonne. Of course the most important thing is the poetry between the covers, but the team over at Carolina Wren have done a great job of packaging this collection, and I’m sure it will be eye-catching in any bookshop display. I’m happy that you’re happy.

  2. Just catching up with your art-log Clive. And I think this is absolutely striking, exquisite, and beautifully ‘just right!’ It really does work wonderfully as a book-cover. Anne x

    • Glad that you like the look of it Anne. Let’s hope it does the job of catching the eye of book-shop browsers. Easy to forget sometimes that covers are there to help sell the product, but I think that CWP have made a pretty fine job of this one.

  3. Clive, the visual inspiration from this beautiful painting extends beyond the book cover… as I write, Mother and Andrea are putting bird’s-egg-blue Jordan almonds into cello bags and closing them with silver twist ties. Attached will be a coupon for $10 off of the entry fee for the next CWP poetry contest. We’ll be passing this out at next weeks national conference of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) in Washington, DC., as we “launch” Yvonne’s book. So, you see, you never know the full extent of your powers to inspire!
    xo AM

    • I’m touched beyond words to express! I love the notion of bags of candy eggs being given out, sweet largesse from Carolina Wren to promote a volume of poems titled ‘Aviaries’ with a painting on the cover inspired by a poem from the great Seamus Heaney who in turn was moved to write because of the legend of a tender-hearted saint and a trusting hen blackbird! It seems to me that there’s much mutual inspiration going on here, and it all comes down at this point in time to Yvonne’s poetry, which no doubt will now go on to inspire other writers to submit to Carolina Wren. This is a marvellous cycle of enrichment, like the peasant cook-pot on the hearth in which the savoury remnants of the last meals forever make up the stocks for the next.

      I greatly look forward to having a copy of the book in my hand. What a delight all this has been.

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