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Articles & Reviews

Old Stones Understand

by Stacey Murphy

Winner of the Royal Dragonfly Book Award 2021

Honorable Mention in POETRY



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It’s easy to think there are no more tricks to learn, especially when weary of the world. Faded, forgotten awareness can become new again with a fresh look. In her first poetry collection, Old Stones Understand, writer Stacey Murphy explores new ways of seeing intersections in life or glancing at an old idea from a new perspective. These poems bring readers back to what we forgot deep in our core, often through conversations with nature and with the realization that nature has the answers.

POETRY / General

ISBN: 978-1-951651-48-0 (print; softcover; perfect bound)

LCCN: 2021932278

Released March 2021; Copyright 2021

104 pages


Stacey Murphy loves writing and encouraging other writers. In 2018, she joined the editor board of Cayuga Lake Books and organized an Ithaca group to participate in the international day of poetry through 100 Thousand Poets for Change. In 2017 she co-edited and contributed to NY Votes for Women: A Suffrage Centennial Anthology, a collection about women gaining the right to vote in New York State and more recent feminist concerns. Murphy’s haiku appear in the 2016 anthology Wild Voices by Wildflower Poetry Press, and her poems are in a number of print journals and online sites including The Avocet, Painted Parrot, and She enjoys life with those dear to her and the abundant natural inspiration of the Finger Lakes.



“Stacey Murphy is an observer. She looks out, up, down, around in the way children do in their early voyages through the world. And when they ask questions of what they see, they have already passed the answers and are moving on. Turning these pages of her first published collection, we sense that this poet has continued to move among the unknowns, but this time is guiding us, assuring us that Nature, which she observes so patiently and well, has the answers, and what she can divine, she passes along. ‘For the leaf, simply letting go / is the thing.’ Or, ‘some things just pick their own time / to hold and let go.’ Like Nature, she is a force that derives from an innate strength, so beware: ‘At our roots, / we can only suffer / without relief / for just so long.’ And suddenly the voice of an ancient Pete Seeger rises, and we join that strength as we must admire the very toughness of weed, even as we resist it. This writer is not Wordsworth, or Frost; she is Stacey Murphy. Walk with her.”
Jack Hopper, Poet Laureate of Tompkins County, New York, in 2015 and 2016; author of Rafting the Medusa and three other poetry collections

“Stacey Murphy possesses a rare gift for weaving together close observation of the natural world with keen insight into human nature, forging unexpected connections that elicit a grateful ‘ahhhhh’ of recognition. In Old Stones Understand Murphy presents poetic meditations that explore both the personal and the universal, revealing complex truths about life in our time, with pathos, humor, and the wisdom of an old soul.”
Zee Zahava, Poet Laureate of Tompkins County, New York, in 2017 and 2018; teacher and leader of writing workshops in Ithaca, New York

“Stacey Murphy's debut poetry collection offers an unexpectedly relevant  bedrock of solace and stability from which we can dream. To me it is like an outdoor four-post canopy bed—four sections being Nature, Love, Hope, and Daily Magic—billowing with light. Balancing nature, human nature, and current events, her clematis brings an opportunity for new discussion; the wall spider saves her young from a flood; fields speak in tongues during drought; a nearby slave graveyard, long denied, comes alive; and in the title poem of Old Stones Understand we come to believe when a boulder dreams. Already a local favorite,the closing poem, ‘Feed the Kind Wolf’, works its Dylanesque, song-like magic with powerful jaws. Above all, her abundant ‘what if’ poems open our eyes to possibility, bracing against despair, even when ‘Today my eyes feel best closed.’”
Carolyn Clark, poet; author of several collections, including New Found Land (2018) and, with her mother, Florence Adams Clark, Poet Duet: A Mother and Daughter (2020)

Articles and Reviews


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