Altoona professor’s poem is ‘Rattle’ magazine’s 'Poets Respond' selection

Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy, professor of English at Penn State Altoona, has published her latest book of poetry, “Fluent in Blue.”

“Fluent in Blue,” published by Grayson Books, was also named a finalist for Ohio University’s Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, the Alice James Award sponsored by Alice James Books, and the Word Works Books Washington Prize.

Credit: Penn State

ALTOONA, Pa. — A poem by Erin Murphy, professor of English at Penn State Altoona, was selected for “Rattle” magazine’s "Poets Respond" series, a weekly feature that highlights a poem written in response to a news story from the previous week. Murphy also joined the magazine’s editor, Timothy Green, on his podcast, Rattlecast, on March 11 to discuss the poem and the writing process.

The poem, “Man with Birds and Bread,” is a cento, a poetic form composed of lines from other poems. Murphy said she wrote the poem in response to a recent report that Latino activists are concerned about increasing hate crimes against immigrants.

In late February, Murphy and two fellow poets headlined under their professional name, "The Word Girls," at a reading at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland. The trio was also interviewed for NPR affiliate WHCP-FM.

Other new work by Murphy has been published in “North American Review,” where two poems were James Hearst Poetry Prize finalists, and in “The Patterson Literary Review,” where her poem “In Gear” was an Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize Editor’s Choice selection.