Save The Dates

The pub date for Hemming Flames is fast approaching, so I want to let you know about two events.

On Saturday August 20 from 4:30-6 Four Chambers Press will be hosting a “Four Chambers Presents” for Hemming Flames at Ocotillo in Phoenix.

On Thursday September 1 at 7 pm I will be reading with the wonderful Sarah Vap at Changing Hands Tempe.

Hemming Flames

Djerassi, The Memoir

My main goal for my time at Djerassi was simple: get the memoir I’ve been working on to a point where I am ready to send it out. I have been working on it for a long time; so long, in fact, that my life keeps changing and sometimes when I go back to revise it there are sections that no longer make sense in the narrative. With the gift of 28 days, I decided I wanted to: cut the memoir from 95K words to 75K, remove some repetitive narration, and create a new structure.

View from My Studio

To create a new structure, I had to first work on the timeline that I’ve been trying to recreate for about 10 years now. I have been gathering a list of events for each month of every year since my grandparents were born, to try to piece together the timeframe of the implosion (okay, explosion) of my nuclear family. So I spent a good deal of time studying documents to verify these events.


Then I wrote two brand new first chapters.

Then I cut three existing chapters.

Then I worked on patching holes in chapters 3-7.

In short, I got a WHOLE LOT accomplished.

I still have perhaps 40 more working hours to add a bit more glue, including some details I didn’t have access to while I was away (my mother’s CIA and FBI files).


2016 May Swenson Poetry Award

May SwensonLOGAN, UTAH — Patricia Colleen Murphy, of Phoenix, Arizona, is the winner of the 19th annual May Swenson Poetry Award, presented by Utah State University Press and the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Murphy will receive a cash award of $1,000, and her winning collection of poems, Hemming Flames, will be published by USU Press in the summer of 2016.

Judge for the 2016 award was Stephen Dunn, American poet, teacher, and essayist. The Swenson competition receives hundreds of entries each year from across the United States and several countries abroad. Dunn selected Murphy’s work from among 27 finalists chosen by a panel of professional poets and university teachers of poetry. Dunn had this to say about Ms. Murphy’s work:

The curious title of Patricia Murphy’s wonderfully disturbing Hemming Flames doesn’t become clear to us until the last poem in the book. And, as good titles do, it provides a way of understanding what have been the book’s necessities. The last two lines are, “Yesterday I invented fire. / Today I’m hemming flames.” The “today” speaks to almost every poem Murphy artfully offers us, as if the act of writing itself is an attempt to hem what can’t easily be hemmed.

A well-published poet, Patricia Colleen Murphy holds degrees from Miami University and Arizona State University. She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University where she is the founding editor of the literary magazine Superstition Review. Her poems have appeared in many journals including The Iowa ReviewQuarterly West and American Poetry Review. Her poems have received awards from Glimmer Train PressThe Southern California ReviewGulf CoastThe Madison Review, and Bellevue Literary Review. She lives in Phoenix, AZ.

Stephen Dunn is Distinguished Professor (emeritus) of creative writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and has also taught at Columbia University, NYU, University of Michigan, Princeton, and the University of Washington. He is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, including the most recent Lines of Defense (Norton, 2014), and Here and Now(Norton, 2011). His poem “The Imagined” is included in The Best of the Best American Poetry: 1988-2012 (Scribners, 2013), and he has been the featured poet in The American Poetry ReviewThe Georgia Review, and The Cortland Review.

The May Swenson Poetry Award, an annual competition named for May Swenson, honors her as one of America’s most provocative and vital writers. During her long career, Swenson was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. She left a legacy of fifty years of writing when she died in 1989. She is buried in Logan, Utah, her hometown.

Utah State University Press, a division of USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library and imprint of the University Press of Colorado, is an award-winning scholarly publisher in several academic fields. USU Press proudly sponsors the annual May Swenson Poetry Award.

—Utah State University Press Announcement

Day 2 at #AWP14


It is another sunny morning in Seattle. I have had a proper breakfast and I’m getting ready to head to the book fair. So many of our Superstition Review contributors stopped by to Table C40 yesterday. It was really great to meet everyone in person.

I hope to see even more of our authors today.

My favorite panel Thursday was a Copper Canyon Press reading with 4 wonderful poets: Ellen Bass, Mark Bibbins, Marianne Boruch, and Matthew Zapruder. They were all talented, but they were also all very funny. I love it when poets have a little fun.

I managed to sneak off-site with my friend Suhara for dinner at Bar Sajor. If you can manage to get to this place please do! What a beautiful design, and delicious food.


@AWP2014 Seattle or Bust #AWP14

Trish's Schedule
SR Gear
Get your SR Gear at Table C40

I leave tomorrow for Seattle, where I’ll be working the AWP bookfair Table C40 for my magazine Superstition Review. Please stop by and say hello if you’re there (and grab some SR gear). If I’m not around, say hi to my colleague Mark Haunschild or one of my SR Interns: Erin Regan, Sydni Budelier, Beth Sheets, or Elizabeth Hansen.

We will also be live-reporting on our SR Networks. Follow us for fun updates including #overheardatAWP and also a continuation of our #sralum series, where we highlight AWP authors who have appeared in SR.


Although it seems impossible, AWP 2014 in Seattle will be my 20 Year AWP Anniversary. My first was AWP 1994 in Tempe. I was a graduate student at the time so I volunteered at the conference, which was held entirely at the Tempe Mission Palms (a tiny venue compared to what you see today). I skipped a few in between, but I think Seattle will make my 15th AWP total? Ish. Can’t remember. But I do really enjoy attending the conference and going to panels and seeing friends I have not seen in ages and hearing poets and writers talk about their work and ideas.

I haven’t been to Seattle since 2005–when my friends Pete and Carolyn got married. I’m looking forward to seeing several friends who live in town, and trying some super restaurants. So far on the docket: Anchovies and Olives, How to Cook a Wolf, and The Walrus and The Carpenter.  Might also head to Quinn’s, Bar Sajor, and Matt’s in the Market.

There are plenty of “How-To” guides around for AWP, so I won’t write a comprehensive one here. In fact, you can read these guides for a look at best practices:

Peter Kispert for Indiana Review
Arna Bontemps Hemenway for book country
Zack Rogow
Donna Vorreyer
Liz Ahl
Lori A. May for The Write Life
Kristin Latour for Luna Luna Mag
Erin Regan for Superstition Review
Kelli Russell Agodon
Daniel Nester’s AWP Bingo Card

Here is my list of Top Ten Good AWP Habits:

1. Stay Hydrated
2. If you feel grumpy, have a Nap. Or a Snack. Or Both.
3. Don’t forget to go off-site for something: a museum, a restaurant, a friend.
4. Do not monopolize or be monopolized.
5. Go to some panels. Go to some readings.
6. Spend time and money in the bookfair.
7. Ask 10 people “Do you need anything?”
8. Tell 10 people you are proud of them.
9. Don’t waste any meals (I stole this from Matthew Gavin Frank).
10. Make a new list of Best Practices for #AWP15 in Minneapolis.

Trish's Schedule
Trish’s AWP 2014 Schedule