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Lotus leaves, standing feet above the water,
collect at their centre a perfect lens of rain
and heel, and tip it back into the water.
Their baby leaves are feet again, or slant lips
scrolled in declaration; pointed at toe and heel
they echo an unwalked sole in their pale green crinkles
and under blown and picket blooms, the floor
of floating leaves rolls light rainwater marbles
back and forth on sharkskins of anchored rippling.
from `Lotus Dam'
Les Murray has been working on his massive new verse novel, but the lyric and satirical muses have not abandoned him. Subhuman Redneck Poems, with its rumbustious title, was awarded the 1996 T.S.Eliot Prize. This collection, along with Dog Fox Field (1991) and Translations from the Natural World (1993) is added to his expanded and corrected 1991 Collected Poems, bringing the first 60 years of his life into sharp and memorable focus.
`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 said. And Derek Walcott: `There is no poetry in the English language so rooted in its sacredness, so broad-leafed in its pleasures, and yet so intimate and conversational.'
Awards won by Les Murray Short-listed, 2015 T. S. Eliot Prize (Waiting for the Past ) Long-listed, 1994 for the Oxford Chair of Poetry. Winner, 1996 T.S. Eliot Prize for the best collection. (Subhuman Redneck Poems) Winner, 1999 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Praise for Les Murray 'Les Murray's final gift to us, published exactly three years after his death, is certainly worth the wait.'
André Naffis-Sahely, The Times Literary Supplement
'The earth's physical landscape...is rendered with extraordinary, often strange, beauty.'
'His poetry was never less than a rough-edged hymn of praise to the ceaseless and unstoppable wonders of Creation'
Michael Glover, The Tablet
'The poems in this posthumous collection are, as so often in his work, intelligent, high-spirited, coolly or crudely argued, full of small delights, often with a strong dose of wrongheadedness... Murray was that rare thing, a poet who whatever his debts seemed an original.'
William Logan, The New York Times
'Very occasionally you come across something on the page which makes you think ''you can't do any better than this.'' Perfection achieved.'
BBC Radio 4's Saturday Review 'Waiting for the Past is a brilliant collection by a brilliant poet.'
Anthony Domestico, Commonweal Magazine '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
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