Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
Carcanet has always been the place to look for considerations of purely literary and intellectual merit. Its list relies on the vision and the faith and the energy of people who care about books, and values. It is thus as rare as it is invaluable.
Frederic Raphael

Learning Human: New Selected Poems

Les Murray

Cover Picture of Learning Human
Categories: Australian, Christianity
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (264 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2001)
9781857545142
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • 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
    conversational
    .'

    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.
    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
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog From Base Materials: Jenny Lewis read more Goddamned Selected Poems: Stanley Moss read more Diary of an Invasion: Oksana Maksymchuk read more The Strongbox: Sasha Dugdale read more Not a Moment Too Soon: Frank Kuppner read more Coco Island: Christine Roseeta Walker read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2024 Carcanet Press Ltd