Sing Sing Sing


Bruce Murphy

NYU Press (publisher)

Sing, Sing, Sing is unlike any recent first collection by an American poet. It goes against the grain of contemporary fashion by replacing prosaic narrative with a lyricism both symbolic and mysterious. This poet can appreciate experience as "the open/End of a bag fill/With ordinary things," yet also he has an ear for "a watch that goes on ticking/Underground," the shadow of history that lies across the present. Murphy manifests a sense of responsibility for protecting the spirit of lost people and lost things. But in their concern for posterity, his poems use language to forge a memory of the future. This ethical impulse, "the voice of the conscious heart," gives rise to a poetry which is, even when most admonitory, compassionate. Murphy explores our involvement in history as its doers, sufferers, and writers. Hence his poetry is at the intersection of the personal and that sense of our anonymity together in which "anyone can write my story," The title, Sing, Sing, Sing, hints at the imperative music that characterizes these poems.

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