Archive for the ‘Profile’ Category


Article: Edmonton Journal

September 17, 2010

Here’s a great piece by the Edmonton Journal’s books editor Richard Helm on Glimpse. It’s a really nice combination of profile, review and interview. Hope you like it!

Glimpse is a catalogue of 409 aphorisms Murray has culled from his journals and poetry over the years. Why 409? Murray says he shares with the Beach Boys a particular affection for that number. But why aphorisms rather than regular verse?

In a phone interview this week, Murray traced the book’s origins to a reading he did at Princeton a few years back and subsequent conversation with the American poet James Richardson, who has played with the form himself. Richardson told Murray many of the closing couplets from the sonnets of his last collection, The Rush to Here, would work as aphorisms if removed whole from their host poems.

Murray started collecting them, a bid idly, while working on another book of poetry. Then last summer, at a reading in Dublin, the famed Irish poet Paul Durcan insisted he put the poesy aside and publish the aphorisms. That was good enough for Murray.

“Everybody, not just poets, has these little moments of epiphany where you have a bit of a deeper understanding of the universe,” Murray said.

“It’s a fleeting thing, kind of like grabbing onto smoke: You can’t quite do it. But poets are trained to try to grab that and shape it into something. A poet spends a lot of time laying down artifice upon this moment of epiphany and trying to make it beautiful and trying to make it have multiple layers of meaning.

“These aphorisms try to go straight for the moment of epiphany with the fewest words possible.


Interview: Salty Ink

September 10, 2010

Atlantic books blog Salty Ink likes Glimpse and has a brief interview with me up today. I hope you like it!

What is it about the aphorism you are drawn to?

I’m drawn to the essential and crystalline. I’m drawn to their nearness to the moment of epiphany. I’m drawn to their relative lack of artifice (at least as compared to the lyric poem). Some of them can stand alone, while others build on one another. As a book-length entity, they loan and borrow energy, to and from one another. They can be read individually or as a unit. And with most of them, people can walk away with, if not an immediate fix then, something relatively accessible to chew on.


Interview: Telegraph Journal

September 8, 2010

Mainland Atlantic paper, the Telegraph Journal, includes me and Glimpse in their fall books preview. An interview turned into a profile appears here.

His latest collection, Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, is thinly disguised as a poetry book. The catalogue of 409 aphorisms come with their own iPhone application, aptly coined iPhorisms. Readers can Tweet, Blog, Facebook or Tumble his succinct thoughts.

“With the aphorism I am trying to get closer to the moment of epiphany by eschewing the artifice of the constructed, crafted poem,” he says. “Now, practically speaking, the aphorisms are also crafted. I’m hoping their accessibility and economy, using the fewest words possible convincingly convey the gist of the epiphany allows the reader closer to the original moment by not putting any barriers to understanding in the way.”


Interview: CBC Weekend Arts Magazine

August 12, 2010

I’ll be on CBC 1’s Weekend Arts Magazine in St. John’s this weekend talking with host Angela Antle about my new book, Glimpse. I’m told the spot runs Sunday at 8:40am Newfoundland time. Pretty early for most of you EST people, so it will be podcast within a few days and I will link to that here. We mostly talk about the stories, such as they are, behind individual aphorisms and about how the book came to be. Hope you enjoy it and it piques your interest in the book.


Interview: Torontoist

May 25, 2010

I’m interviewed at the Torontoist books section about my role as Bookninja. It’ll be seven years in August that I’ve been doing this. Which is a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it. I’ve got no real plans to stop, but if someone wanted to buy it from me, I don’t know if I could say no to the chance to write more….

Bookninja began as an online forum for a bunch of writers to kibitz and argue about the state of the book world but has since evolved into…an online form for a bunch of writers to kibitz and argue about the book world. The difference? Now thousands of other people—including other writers, publishing folk, and many intrigued readers—are listening in and even joining the chat. The conductor, head vocalist, and stage hand for this bookish choir is George Murray, who co-founded Bookninja with fellow author Peter Darbyshire back in 2003, when the phrase “book blog” still had to qualified with some form of descriptor for the web-challenged.

Books@Torontoist editor James Grainger spoke with Murray about the past, present, and future of the pioneering books blog.


News: The Hunter at ARC’s How Poems Work

March 3, 2009

The opening poem from my 2003 book, The Hunter, is under review at ARC Magazine’s How Poems Work feature this month. Nigel Beale examines the poem from his perspective, providing his key for reading it. I used to like the “How Poems Work” feature in the Globe and Mail a few years ago, so it’s nice that ARC has decided to continue the tradition of providing individual readings for individual poems.

The poem works then because it attaches itself to canonical words, pushes through intriguing sets of thin, thought-provoking binary opposites, looks at the horizon, and formulates a complicated commentary both on the globe’s future physical environment, and humankind’s perilous rejection of wise thinking in favour of greedy consumption. In short, the poem’s complex ambiguity invites engagement: it’s not too late to save the world from ignorant human behaviour. Alternatively, Murray himself has described the Hunter as angry, and the poem’s ‘Promised Land’ can just as easily be interpreted ironically, apocalyptically, as it can hopefully.

The poem succeeds because neither it, nor its central character is static. He changes, like most of us do, over time. The ‘he’ in the poem evolves from a dissatisfied beast into an insatiable destroyer, from a threatening spirit, to, in the end, a loving hopeful human being struggling simply to stay alive who is intent, possibly, on creating a better world—or at least on trying to save this one. Godlike, beaten, but not dead. Not yet, at least while there is still the capacity to ‘look up’, to hope, despite a barren landscape. Resurrected. Mail fisted.


News: Profile in Eye Magazine

September 13, 2007

There’s a short piece on me in Eye, Toronto’s alt weekly. Aside from one rather large error (can you spot it?), it’s quite a nice, friendly little profile. I read at the Art Bar on Tuesday and it was very successful. I can’t remember the last time I saw a poet sell more than one or two books at the Art Bar, but I sold 10! I’ll be back in Toronto for IFOA in October. If you couldn’t make it out to the Art Bar, and even if you did, hopefully I’ll see you there.