“I am the magic marker’s missing cap,” Jack Murphy asserts in the first line of his new collection My Apartment in Chicago. He also calls himself Derrick Rose, Bob Dylan in 1963 or sometimes 1972, your grandmother’s lampshade, pink Starbusts, and a scratched off lottery ticket, among other miscellaneous objects. Drawn in by that first line, and intrigued by the writer the Chicagoist says “encapsulates avant-garde literature in all of its aspects,” I decided to take the poem’s title (“Hey There Stranger, Come Sit Down And Get To Know Me For A While”) to heart and meet the man at the West Loop’s Jupiter Outpost.
Jack Murphy, it turns out, is not Bob Dylan or root beer fizz or Derrick Rose (though he is a Chicagoan, through and through.) Jack Murphy is a 26-year-old teacher and writer, a graduate of DePaul University’s Writing and Publishing MA program, and an avid, rabid Bulls fan and self-proclaimed Derrick Rose defender. He is an iced tea drinker (see: “The Summer of Iced Tea”) and a former girls’ basketball coach. He is approachable, funny and insightful, able to alternate between pedagogy and Tom Thibodeau’s defensive system on the fly. Above all else, he is passionate about his work: the writing and the teaching, which he views as inextricable from each other. Continue reading