Tom Murphy grew up in Barron Park, an unincorporated section of Palo Alto, CA, where he watched from his driveway on many Halloween nights his neighbors, some whom he had broken bread with, repelled by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Riot Squad with batons. He received praise for writing "interesting poetry" from his 8th grade English teacher. The doctor that delivered him also diagnosed him as clinically depressed at seventeen. Murphy first published poems and fiction in 1986. Had an internship at San Francisco State University's Poetry Center. Winner of the Charles Gordone award in both fiction and poetry. Murphy's Pearl (FlowerSong Press) 2020. Murphy co-editor with Alan Berecka of Stone Renga (Tail Feathers), a Japanese form that features sixty poets in a single poem in 2017. His chapbook, Horizon to Horizon (Strike Syndicate) was published in 2015. In 2016, Tom Murphy's poems appeared in Illya's Honey, Nothing Journal, The Langdon Review, The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology, plus as the Red River Review's May featured poet. Other recent work has been in, Outrage: A Protest Anthology for Injustice in a Post 9/11 World, 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar, Beatitude: Golden Anniversary Edition, Centrifuge, Nebula, Strike, Switchgrass Review, Voices de la Luna and Windward Review. He lives in Corpus Christi, Texas and teaches at Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi.
The poetic canvas of Pearl is as vast as the poet's extensive learning. The thrust of the book is a series of achingly poignant poems about the poet's early life in California. Gifted with a prodigious memory for detail and an expansive heart, Murphy probes a litany of seminal life events including rebelliousness, drug and alcohol abuse, friendship, intellectual inquisitiveness, creativity, suicide, loss, and human sensuality, and he does so with extraordinary emotional honesty and courage. The stinging "bite" of these poems will remain with the reader long after the poems are read.
The poetic canvas of Pearl is as vast as the poet's extensive learning. The thrust of the book is a series of achingly poignant poems about the poet's early life in California. Gifted with a prodigious memory for detail