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Waiting for the Past

Les Murray

Waiting for the Past
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, Australian, Bestsellers
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2015)
9781784101169
£9.99 £8.99
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(Pub. Aug 2015)
9781784101176
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Foliage is loose flight
    around the top of orders:
    a branch to wither,
    a giant fig to fruit,
    flowering to be started.

    from Waiting for the Past
    The clearly-focussed lyrics of Les Murray’s Waiting for the Past are rich in topographies and the languages peculiar to them – wonga vines, lyre birds, gum trees, shrike thrushes, tallow boughs, boab trees, the octopus in Wylies Baths killed by sterilising chlorine. With the erasures the modern world brings, words, landscapes and lives descend to the Esperanto of the modern. The poet, with a salutary resistance, rejects the computer and the incursions of the levelling Modern in favour of old-fashioned typewriters, unlikely saints, lived-in places, an Easter rabbit ‘edible and risen’, farming in the spirit of ancestors. This is the past he waits for in scenes unmade by human carelessness, not only in his rural place but across the world. The poems speak of the unspeakable, including old age, vertigo, illness, and the durable resilience of married love.
    Les Murray (1938-2019) grew up on a dairy farm at Bunyah on the north coast of New South Wales. He studied at Sydney University and later worked as a translator at the Australian National University and as an officer in the Prime Minister's Department. His real vocation was poetry, however, and ... read more
    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.
     'Waiting for the Past is a brilliant collection by a brilliant poet.'
    Anthony Domestico, Commonweal Magazine
    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.'

    New Yorker

    '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 
    '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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