Les Murray's resplendent, variegated and heavily cerebral work inspired me to write poetry. I studied poems from his collection The Vernacular Republic when I was in my senior years at high school (1988-89). Those poems (among them An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow, Spring Hail and The Widower in the Country), were precious, precious objects that lifted me out of the doldrums. I have most of Les' work and eagerly await each new collection. I turn to Les when I need to be inspired and challenged. Les has read some of my work and kindly offered up suggestions. I've heard him read, in his pure, honest way, many times.
I've just finished reading his latest offering Taller When Prone published through Black Inc. The volume's overall opacity is somewhat detrimental. I felt like I was staggering through rugged terrain in a remote corner of West Papua without water, decent boots and a compass or catching snatches of a conversation in a nightclub whilst The Chemical Brothers and Aphex Twin were being mashed up at blaring levels. But hey, who am I to judge? Maybe I'm just dim/stupid/closed-minded. Saying that, several poems shone, including Nursing Home, which contains this beautiful line, 'in the pastel light of indoors, there is a lady who has distilled to love beyond the fall of memory.' For that line alone, Taller When Prone is worth sitting quietly with.
LJ, May 21 2010