Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sorry to Bang On

But Les Murray has a new volume of poems out. It's called Taller when Prone. I’ve just read a review of it and I’m going to go and buy it as soon as I can. It contains a poem with the wonderful title The Drizzle of Chefs’ Knives and a poem about country shows, which is full of razor sharp detail - ‘when the ticket strung through the tweedy eye/ of each member’s lapel meant pedigree’ - and ends with the line ‘The best show was any year it rained’.
The reviewer seems to have loved almost the whole collection but he singles out a poem called King Lear Had Alzheimer’s for extra special praise. It contains these bleak but brilliant lines:
‘The great feral novel
every human is in
is ruthless.'


  1. You may have inspired me to but this book too. I loved Murray's animal poems particularly and Fredy Neptune was a very good read. I wasn't even sure he was still alive - great to hear about this.

  2. Where would you recommend starting out in an exploration of Murray?

  3. Gadjo - where do you go in Kolozsvar for books? (that is where you are isn't it? we've got some photographs from there in the album from 1985 and I don't think there were any bookshops visible - but I imagine it's changed a lot since then)
    Gaw -It's hard to say. I remember starting off with his collected poems or something like that in 1985 and making quite heavy weather of it. I don't know if he's changed or me but in the last few years I've become a ridiculous fan. I think maybe start with a book called The Quality of Sprawl, which is a mixture of poems and essays and includes some of my favourite things by him - including the sprawl poem itself (and an essay about beach behaviour called 'Flaunt, Scunge and Death-Freckles', which will let you get to know more about glorious Scunge.)

  4. Thanks - I shall order it forthwith (for whom?).