Night Wanderer’s Plea (2019)


Mark A. Murphy’s famed for his clarion trenchancy, his hot-wired lyricism and there’s much of that in this new collection. But Night Wanderer’s Plea takes its bearing from that Schubert setting of Goethe’s poetry: it’s an obsession. Schubert himself set it more than once. Murphy’s elegies for his lover take on that same eternal gravity, elegies from different angles; a nagging, revenant sense of a lover circling his own grave. This startlingly different collection doesn’t mask Murphy’s polemical engagement nor his range of interests and loyalties: not least to his native earth. Night Wanderer’s Plea branches into new thrillingly naked territory. And Murphy’s new collection will make you feel  the same.


ISBN: 978-1-906742-71-3-1 Category:

Praise and Poems

Murphy’s rich gathering of poems envelops like a sanctuary. It strikes a hushed reverence, a guilty voyeurism. Each piece transports to a dark, jewelled interior, distant cathedrals of thought. Murphy’s own words describe the effect perfectly in his poem from this collection, ʹSpring Songʹ; it lodges “…under your ribs as near to the womb as possible…” There is a compelling romantic suffering, in the way of Pushkin or Pasternak, delicately strung throughout. A copy to return to for solace, for freedom, for the scent of flesh.

– Tess Kincaid

“So much of life is concealed in what we cannot know…” With Night Wanderer’s Plea, Murphy searches for answers with a warrior’s bravery, and a bardʹs vision. With a cynicʹs eye, and a mysticʹs compassion, firmly guides the reader to their core to face the truths he is not able to face alone: that humanity, in all its sacred profanity, is more than the sum of parts.

– Marie Lecrivain

Picking up this manuscript, I found myself in a stark and honest landscape of a private dialogue with the universe and all there is, collective suffering from political tyranny, historical festering wounds, the struggle and pain of social conditioning, the impermanence of all things, self-created prisons of fear, occasional dark humour and inflaming, raw love. Murphy achieves the most important thing a poet can do – a reverberation of this experience in the reader; everything else is just words.

– Baiba Auria


Mark A. Murphy – Poetry books available, and pending:


Night-Watch Man & Muse (Salmon Poetry, 2013)

“Murphy’s serious sense of rapture with the world pervades this excellent debut collection, filled with emotional and sexual drive as well as a spiritual restlessness — something that strikes an alternative note as it abandons more familiar territories for its edgy philosophical road trip. But the book is dominated by its poignant engagements — the lusty, admonishing, bittersweet, tender confrontations that the poet brings to bear on his subjects. It is a book which constantly draws on Lacan’s Other — and finds itself absorbed in deceit, disintegration and abandonment, yet in ways that keep you on board and travelling smoothly into Murphy’s global hinterlands.”  Chris Emery


To Nora, A Singer of Sad Songs (Clare Song Birds Publishing House, 2019)


“Of Loves lost, of loves found, and in the conveyance of poetic wonder, Mark Murphy brings the reader a masterful rendering of the written word. You feel the longing and loneliness in his words. Yet, the reader also celebrates them. Mark Murphy’s humble approach to this will also set the reader of these pages on fire with the insatiable need to read this collection to the end, and still want more. When closing the final pages, the reader will walk away changed forever.” William B. Burkholder


“Mark Murphy has written an ode to loss. These beautiful poems shine through the narrator’s pain that comes with the realization that a great love will lead to a great sorrow. This is a book of wisdom and grace and gratitude. There is finally the beauty and lyricism of joyful remembering which will not allow the poet to ‘hide in the loneliness of the moon’.” Linda King


“A mysterious and fascinating journey. The world of poetry might be a secular tradition yet the themes and moods in To Nora, A Singer Of Sad Songs are current and very much alive. Love, mortality and a form of romanticism that we have all dreamed about, at least once. A must read, possibly aloud.” Alice Carbone


Poems: Precepts and Paradoxes (Cowboy Buddha Press, 2019) Pending this November…

“These are poems of great wit and perception. Murphy denies the commands and contrary truths of our existence in a two-part compilation of the human condition in a landscape of change and at first glance, a kind of despair, in which ‘Man is alone everywhere.’ The poet however, cannot help the humanity pulsing through the collection, ‘Because my feud with God isn’t over yet’. It is a work of realizations, the impending catastrophe of climate change, obligations left over from wars, and abandoned sections of society; lost loves that surface, as ‘Friends come and go as if by accident.’ Such a skilled hand at work, and a heart which sees the broken frailty and fallibility of ourselves, writ against the struggle to understand our place in a whirling tide of isolation in the question ‘where love squeezes the answers from our invisible and indivisible breath?’, and in the challenge, ‘Who would believe that being alone could be lethal?’. Precepts and Paradoxes are resolved because ‘we dream as one’, no matter what assails us. A book to read again, and again.” James Walton


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