Professor Inspires ’67 Graduate’s Passion for Poetry

Jim Murphy (’67) became interested in poetry during his college years at Loras. His appreciation for poetry began 55 years ago. As a first-year philosophy major, he took a creative writing course taught by the late Fr. Raymond Roseliep (’39).

“Father Roseliep, by then, had long been recognized for his poetry and had published at least two books. As a student from a small farming community in northern Iowa, I thought it might help me academically to purchase his books and ask him to sign them. But when I actually began to read his poetry during that year, my interest was genuinely sparked,” Murphy said. “My exposure to this form of writing and expression is yet just another reason I value and cherish my liberal arts education from Loras.”

Though he wrote a handful of poems over the next 40 years, a 2004
thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail renewed his passion for writing poetry. “I’ve learned to follow my muse and embrace stretches of inspiration that have a way of coming and going,” he said.

He writes under the moniker “Grandpa Jim” – his trail name acquired on the “AT” after the birth of his first grandchild that spring. Jim and his wife, Char, a 1967 graduate of what was then known as Clarke College, live in Durham, N.C.

REFLECTIONS ON A POEM

I wonder how many times
These same words before,
Came as presents from kind muse
To tap at someone’s door.

Should that make a difference,
Some diminished joy?
Would knowing when they came before
Rare delight destroy?

Would I feel less mesmerized,
Basking here in sun?
Could not-owning first revealing
Make rapture come undone?

Yet rapture’s not from having
Ownership of verse,
True joy springs from each becoming
Inside my universe.

–Grandpa Jim

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