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Conscious and Verbal

Les Murray

Cover Picture of Conscious and Verbal
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Categories: Australian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Oct 1999)
9781857544534
£6.95 £6.25
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • When we went down the hollow
    under the stormcloud nations
    the light was generalised there
    from vague glass places in the trees
    and the colours were moist and zinc,
    submerged and weathered and lichen
    with black aisles and white poplar blues.

    from 'The Mowed Hollow'
       
    Conscious and Verbal is Les Murray's first book since his celebrated verse novel Fredy Neptune, described by Peter Porter in the Independent as,
    'a true verse novel, not just a tour de force but a sustained piece of storytelling in
    poetry
    .' Conscious and Verbal is full of stories, too: political stories as in the harrowing 'At the Swamping of Categories'; love stories, epithalamia and celebrations; curious 'Sound Bites'; and the wonderfully fluid rhythmic surprise of poems such as 'Music to Me is Like Days'. The story behind the title poem has to do with the nearly fatal illness of the poet. When he was declared 'conscious and verbal' it was clear that he would survive, and the work he has produced since then he has described as 'posthumous', illuminated by various previously unseen and wonderfully shimmering lights. He has always had a vision of how things are; now he sees how they might be. Derek Walcott says,
    '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
    .'

    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.
    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 
     '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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