In his first new volume of poems since Poems the Size of Photographs (2002), Les Murray celebrates the grace and variousness of the world with an unfailing abundance of imagination and linguistic energy. Here is a poet writing at the height of his powers, capturing the richness of life in story-poems, word-plays, history- and myth-makings, aphoristic fragments and domestic portraits, recollections of rural Australia and moments of urban experience. Houses - as home, landscape and metaphor - form a many-sided theme of the book, and as ever Murray's evocation of the natural world is unparalleled in its inventiveness.
Les Murray was born in 1938 and grew up on a dairy farm at Bunyah on the north coast ofNew South Wales, where he still lives. He studied at Sydney University and later becamea translator at the Australian National University and as an officer in the Prime Minister's Department. His real vocation was poetry and from 1971 he has made literature his full-time career. His first visit to Europe was in the sixties and since then he has returned frequently delighting audiences with his relaxed and excellent readings. He has special links with Scotland, and Scots ancestors, whilst remaining an important and distinctive Australian writer. Blake Morrison, writing in the Independent on Sunday wrote 'Critics speak of him as one of the finest poets writing in English today, one of the super league which includes Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and Joseph Brodsky' and C. K. Stead in the London Review of Books said of his poetry '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'. In 1994 Les was nominated for the Oxford Chair of Poetry which was eventually won by James Fenton. His collection, Subhuman Redneck Poems received wide critical acclaim and was awarded The T.S. Eliot Prize for the best collection of 1996. Les was awarded The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry at Buckingham Palace in June 1999. This honour was recommended to the Queen by the late Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate.