Mish (Eileen) Murphy is a college professor, visual artist, writer, and book reviewer. A native of Chicago, she now lives with her husband and three dogs in a semi-rural area thirty miles from Tampa.



Eileen (Mish) Murphy is a full-time professor of literature and English at Polk State College in Lakeland, Florida. She graduated with a B.A. from New College, Sarasota, with a degree in French and Russian. Her M.A. in Fiction Writing/Teaching of Writing is from Columbia College, Chicago.



Mish’s photography has been published in literary journals such as Peacock JournalTiferet Journal, The Indian River Review, and Calyx Journal,and shown in galleries in Florida and New Mexico. Her artistic philosophy is simple: find the beauty under the surface, for example, of a dilapidated shed or in a quick green lizard with a long thin tail.


One of Mish’s main projects since last year has been to draw dogs of all kinds.Treat


Another project is to photograph “geckos,” more properly called Florida anoles. Her colorful gecko photos are Mish’s most popular art pieces.


Mish has also shot a series of photos of Florida flowers. Sometimes she paints flowers.

spring flowers


She is also drawn to photographing human beings of all ages and walks of life in their daily activities, and she has a reputation for making people look good in the picture.

Skye and Luckie



Eileen (Mish) Murphy has published over 60 poems in literary journals in the U.S., U. K., and Canada, including, recently, Thirteen Myna Birds, Tinderbox Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Rogue Agent, Writing In A Woman’s Voice, Yes Poetry, The Open Mouse, and other journals.


Her poem “After My Baby Brother Kills Himself, I Try on Flowered Muumuus” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize (by Tinderbox Journal (2016)).


Her poetry collection was a runner-up for the 2017 Wheelbarrow Books Prize at Michigan State University (2017).


She is also a staff writer for Los Angeles-based Cultural Weekly magazine.




Eileen (Mish) Murphy has published poetry book reviews recently as follows:

Tinderbox Journal—Review of Villain Songs by Tammie Robacker

Glass—Review of The Laura Poems by Juliet Cook

Cultural Weekly—Review of AS REAL AS RAIN by John Yamrus and JanneKarlsson

Arsenic Lobster—Review of Cutting Eyes from Ghosts by Ariana Den Bleyker.

Rain Taxi—Review of Aperture by Anna Leahy

Blog of Los Angeles Review of Books—Review of Enter Here by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Cultural Weekly—Review of Memory Lane by John Yamrus

“Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?”–Late December 2017

Cookie says, “‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.'”

Update on my dogs:

After the savage pit bull attack last month (see the previous blog), my dogs York (black Lab, 8), Savane (Spaniel mix), and Cookie (2, Chi-Spaniel) were injured and had stitches and drains. Now they have managed to recover: their stitches are out, and they’ve returned to their normal activities–looking for food, barking, sleeping.

Waiting for treats-1
waiting for a treat

Clarification re: Cats

I love cats as much as I love dogs. Our cute, furry, loving cat Luckie died two months ago from old age–he was 17. I haven’t “replaced” Luckie with another cat (Well, Luckie can’t be replaced, of course). But we have three dogs. That’s enough, I figure.

Quickstraw, my neighbor’s cat

Interviews: In October 2017, I was interviewed by Arya-francesca Jenkins for a WritersnReaders feature. If you want to know more details about me, this article is a good resource. http://writersnreadersii.blogspot.com/2017/10/

On January 13, 2018, I am featured on in a podcast interview with Marcia Epstein, who has a show called Talk With ME, “at the intersection of art and mental illness.” http://lawrencehits.com/wp/blog/podcast/mish-eileen-murphy-writer-visualartist-professor/

Update on my writing: Recently I’ve had awards, poems, book reviews, and magazine articles published. Here’s a list of some of them:


  • My book review in Cultural Weekly of John Yamrus and Janne Karlsson’s illustrated poetry book As Real As Rain was placed in the Top Ten articles for 2017 per Cultural Weekly. In fact, it was #4.  https://www.culturalweekly.com/cultural-weeklys-top-10-2017/
  • The John Yamrus book review involved in Cultural Weekly’s Award is found at this link:                                                                      https://www.culturalweekly.com/book-review-real-rain-john-yamrus/
  • I also just did an interview with John Yamrus for Cultural Weekly (January 2018). In it, he discusses some old family photos that are involved in his writing Memory Lane, his highly-acclaimed memoirs.   https://www.culturalweekly.com/join-john-yamrus-on-memory-lane/
  • My poetry book The Knife Tree was a runner-up (in the top ten) of the prize-winning books at Michigan State University’s Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize contest for 2016 (announced 2017).
Dog in Bow Tie #1
dog in bow tie

Visual Art

    • In 2017, Thirteen Myna Birds published my visual art entitled “Magic Hand.”
    • The magazine Tifiret Journal published my artwork “Lilies of the Field.”
    • In April 2017, my work was exhibited in Jemez Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
    • Since September 2017, I have been associated with Funky As A Monkey Art Studio in Tampa, Florida, and have participated in three gallery shows in Tampa/St. Petersburg since then.
    • I have also taken art lessons from Tim Gibbons of Funky As A Monkey Art Studio, starting fall 2017.
    • I displayed my art at the “Oneness Event” in Lakeland, October 22, 2017, where I also read some poetry.
    • I made an agreement with poet John Yamrus to illustrate his next book, a book for children of all ages, Phoebe and Ito are dogs. I’m excited about the project. I have taken a lot of photos of dogs and have drawn a lot of dog pictures in anticipation.
    • I did collage art for the inside front pages and back cover of John Yamrus’s new  memoir Memory Lane. It was published December 2017.
    • I’m also doing “dog” art for sale. Here’s one of the “dog art” pictures:
    • background checks-Recovered-17-blog
      purple dog



I am now a staff writer for the Los Angeles-based non-profit magazine Cultural Weekly.  Besides my book review of John Yamrus’s As Real As Rain (discussed above), I published the following articles in Cultural Weekly: 


Dog Fight: Pit Bull Attack!

One Saturday morning two weeks ago, I let my dogs out into our fenced-in front yard. It was still dark. They started barking.  Then, chaos.

A pack of three pit bulls forced their way in through a hole in the fence and immediately attacked. It was horrible. My dogs were York, a 65-pound black Lab, Savane, a 45-pound  senior Spaniel, and Cookie, a 15-pound Chi-Spaniel. These attacking dogs were a muscular 70 pounds each.

One dog chased after tiny Cookie. York, our Alpha dog tried to protect her. He got bitten in the flank for his efforts. Cookie raced into the shelter of the bougainvillea vines, and the pit bull followed.

Bougainvillea are beautiful, but their thorns are a deterrence. Near the roots is a small, cave-like space. Here is where Cookie went to hide. It may have saved her life.

Bougainvillea in bloom
Bougainvillea in bloom

I ran into the bougainvillea after Cookie and the pit bull. I was hitting the pit bull in the eyes and snout with my metal flashlight. I was kicking. The pit bull was trying to shake Cookie by the neck as if killing a cat or squirrel. This went on for an eternity.

Suddenly, Cookie got free. She scampered across the yard and under my car. The pit bull joined the two others who had Savane on his back, still biting Savane, although Savane had surrendered.

I started yelling and kicking. My husband, who’d been asleep, came out and joined me, and the stray pit bulls finally left.

All our three dogs required stitches at the vet’s.  York only had one deep bite. Cookie’s abdomen had a huge gash, but luckily no internal damage. Cookie’s leg was also slashed so deeply, the vet put a wrap around the whole leg. But Savane was injured the worst. He had a ring of bite marks around his neck where normally a collar would go. Cookie and Savane’s wounds required drains.

I blame this incident on bad dog owners. I have nothing against pit bulls: my family member has two pits bull mix dogs who are sweet and non-aggressive. I feel it’s wrong to train your dog to be aggressive and dangerous to other dogs or to people.

I wrote an article for Cultural Weekly about the dog fight. The article has more photos and details. Here’s the link:









Gone to the Dogs

I have a new artistic obsession: drawing pictures of dogs. I use a Sharpie in my sketchbook and/or a stylus on the computer.

Cookie with her ball
Cookie with her ball

It’s wonderful sitting quietly and closely observing my dogs York (black Lab), Savane (Spaniel mix), and Cookie (Chi-Spaniel) so I can draw them on the spot in my sketchbook.

York, the friendly Lab
York, the friendly Lab

I did notice I have a lot of sketches of sleeping dogs–snoozing appears to be my dogs’ main activity besides barking.

Savane resting on rug
Savane resting on rug

My dogs are always waiting to bark at something. Are you familiar with that John Yamus poem “my dogs” where he describes his dogs “when they’re not / barking, / they’re sitting there / waiting for something / to bark at”? Those are my dogs to a T.


I’m lucky my dogs sleep most of the time instead of barking. Although they know when it’s five o’clock, dinner time, they’re pretty oblivious the rest of the time….

Cookie, our princess, yawning
Cookie, our princess, yawning




Writer on the Storm

The hurricane arrives, and it is  loud. The over-hundred-miles-an-hour wind howls like a freight train.

The hurricane is coming, the hurricane is coming! I live in Central Florida, right smack in Hurricane Irma”s path. When we find out the storm is headed straight for us, we stoc up on flashlights, water, and gasoline.

The winds have picked up by 5 o’clock Sunday when our guests arrive, two young men and their dog, cat, and four kittens. They rent a mobile home, unsafe in a hurricane. Our house is solid concrete block.

The hurricane arrives, and it is  loud. The over-hundred-miles-an-hour wind howls like a freight train. The electric power surges periodically. We hold our breaths, expecting the electricity to go out. It finally does at 1:30 a.m.

Right about then, the eye of the storm arrives.

More on this story later…