Daily Archives: 13 September 2011

Coetzee on Murray

J M Coetzee has a very fine article in the 29 September issue of the New York Review of Books. Titled ‘The Angry Genius of Les Murray’, it has lots of insight into what makes the poetry so good …

Murray is not a poet of the inner life. Instead he relies on an acute sensitivity to sensory impressions and an extraordinary capacity to articulate them.

… plenty of guidance to new readers on where to start, some lucid explication of the cultural context, and a judicious account of Murray’s troubling bitterness. It ends:

The time has perhaps come for Les Murray to let go of old grudges. Now in his seventies, he has received many public honors and is widely acknowledged to be the leading Australian poet of his generation. His poems are “taught” in schools and universities; scholars write learned articles about them. He claims that he is read more abroad than at home. This may or may not be so. But even if it were true, he would not be the first writer to suffer such a fate; and it’s a better fate than not being read at all. If there are a handful of purists who for political reasons will have nothing to do with him or his works, so much the worse for them—the loss is theirs.