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In Britain the most adventurous list in poetry and in fiction is that being printed according to the ideals of a small press by Carcanet, well away from London. It does look as if the old alliance between the words of the writer and the artistry of making fine books has a vital future.
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Learning Human: New Selected Poems
ISBN: 978 1 857545 14 2
Categories: Australian, Catholic
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2001
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
From just on puberty, I lived in funeral:
mother dead of miscarriage, father trying to be dead,
we'd boil sweat-brown cloth; cows repossessed the garden.
Lovemaking brought death, was the unuttered principle.
from 'Burning Want'
Derek Walcott celebrates Les Murray in these terms: 'There is no poetry in the English language so rooted in its sacred-ness, so broad-leafed in its pleasures, and yet so intimate and
Fifteen years ago Carcanet published Les Murray's first British Selected Poems. It has gone through several printings, while the poet has developed well beyond it in range and resource. As well as several new collections, he has published his celebrated verse novel Fredy Neptune, and he is one of the great presences in modern poetry, continuing with his generous and uncompromising project of creating a vernacular republic and widening the poetic franchise to include all the marginalised and excluded categories.
His new selected, Learning Human, represents the range of his development in narrative, lyric and satirical modes. All of his best-loved early poems are here, along with the remarkable work of recent years. His title is in itself a kind of manifesto.
Awards won by Les Murray , 1994 nomination for the Oxford Chair of Poetry. , 1996 T.S. Eliot Prize for the best collection (Subhuman Redneck Poems). , 1999 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Praise for Les Murray Les Murray's Taller When Prone shows a poetic master nimbly and lyrically at work. Now seventy-two, Murray writes with the bigness of soul of a person twice his age. This collection adds another chuckie to the cairn of a remarkable personal achievement. A Nobel Prize for that man, please. - Robert Crawford, TLS Books Of The Year 2010 'Richly prolific, profoundly plebeian, full of wit, learning and dexterity, Australia's greatest living poet' Boyd Tonkin 'It would be as myopic to regard Mr Murray as an Australian poet as to call Yeats an Irishman. He is, quite simply, the one by whom the language lives.' Joseph Brodsky. 'There is no poetry in the English language now so rooted in its sacredness, so broad-leafed in its pleasures, and yet so intimate and conversational.' Derek Walcott, The New Republic '...the true spokesman of the whole nation, the custodian of its soul... the most accomplished poet in Australia today, and among the half dozen most successful poets in the English language...' Peter Porter 'perhaps the most naturally gifted poet of his generation' David Malouf 'It should hardly need saying that merely to mention Les Murray is to heighten the tone of the discourse.' Clive James, TLS '...a waterfall of a poet, satisfying as a draught of Coonawarra Cabernet -- a year's discovery.' Martin Dodsworth, Guardian 'Les Murray is writing poetry with a lyric grandeur and verbal resourcefulness that are reassuring.' Mark Strand 'Les Murray is a major Australian poet of our time, full stop.' Douglas Dunn 'It is wonderfully disciplined writing, offering what poetry and nothing else can offer, an art that arrests one's otherwise ever frustrated sense of the richness of the life that lives only for the moment.' C.K.Stead, London Review of Books 'Critics speak of him as one of the finest poets writing in English today, one of the superleague which includes Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and Joseph Brodsky.' Blake Morrison, Independent on Sunday
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