About the Author
Murphy was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, but moved to Moorhead, Minnesota, as a six-month-old baby. He has been a farmer and writer for many years near Fargo, North Dakota. He studied at Yale University under Robert Penn Warren, graduating as Scholar of the House in Poetry in 1972.
Timothy Murphy published a memoir, Set the Ploughshare Deep: A Prairie Memoir (2000), and a translation of Beowulf (2004) with his late partner Alan Sullivan. A passionate hunter and lover of good hunting dogs, Murphy has written several books of poetry which include poems on these interests:
The Deed of Gift (1998)
Very Far North (2002)
Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder (Dakota Institute Press, 2011)
Hunter's Log (Dakota Institute Press, 2011)
To read more of Murphy's poetry, go this website.
Set the Ploughshare Deep
Fifteen years in the making, Set the Ploughshare Deep is a memoir in prose, verse, and woodcuts. It depicts the consequences of Warren's advice for a writer who turned his back on cities and the academic world, who bought and sold, farmed and failed like his forebears, all the while distilling what he saw, heard, or felt into his tall tales and short verses. Timothy Murphy has harvested pheasants and ducks as well as wheat and apples. For him, hunting is often an extended reflection on mortality, yet it also affords apt occasions for his quirky sense of humor.
Like Murphy, artist Charles Beck has lived all his life in the bleak yet bountiful country near the Red River. His vividly colored woodcuts, along with Vincent Murphy's reminiscence of Dust Bowl days on a Minnesota farm, perfectly complement the younger Murphy's work. The result is a blending of forms and visions that poet and critic Timothy Steele has likened to Dante's La Vita Nuova.
Set the Ploughshare Deep cannot be easily categorized, only experienced. An American story from deep in the great Midwest, it is as timely as news headlines on the farm crisis, and as timeless as the bucolic poems of Horace and the landscapes of Van Gogh.
Able Muse Book Review
Interview with Timothy Murphy
Murphy's memoir is illustrated with woodcuts from .
To read some of his poetry, go to this site.