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These poems record, from our own language—spoken on the street in Atlanta or Dayton or Chicago, in the graveyard in Charleston, on the rivers of Ohio or Missouri or Illinois, on the road in Mississippi, or on the radio anywhere in America—momentary beauties, to show us that song, however rare, proceeds from the common tongue. So these poems promise that any speech, that any mouth, might be an occasion for beauty or blessing.
Everywhere in this collection, ears, eyes, minds open to discover new abundance in landscapes thought familiar. These poems discover in America and its history boundless vistas, to remind us that the word cosmos means both “beauty” and “world.”
In this world, innumerable processions make their way “through the neighborhoods of breath and music” to find those “embouchures” through which we might reach some greater expanse. Jim Murphy’s America is one in which a heaven—in which Heaven—might be reached by making the right turns on common roads. Wherever we live, wherever we have lived, may already be holy.
In Jim Murphy’s America, a blessed music is anywhere. It is everywhere. It bears us home.
Kennesaw State University Press
American Literature | Modern Literature
Murphy, Jim, "Heaven Overland" (2009). KSU Press Legacy Project. 10.