Waiting for the Past: Poems (Paperback)

Waiting for the Past: Poems By Les Murray Cover Image

Waiting for the Past: Poems (Paperback)


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A new collection of poems from Les Murray that renews and transforms the contemporary world through language

In Waiting for the Past, Les Murray employs his molten sense of language to renew and transform our experience of the world. With quicksilver verse, he conjures his rural past, the life of the poor dairy boy in Australia, as he simultaneously feels the steady tug of aging, of time pulling him back to the present. Here, syntax, sense, and sound combine with such acrobatic grace that his poems render the familiar into the unknown, the unknown into the revelatory.

Whether Murray is writing about a boy on a walkabout hiding from grief, a sounding whale “spilling salt rain,” or leaves that “tread on the sky,” the great Australian poet’s sense of wonder, his ear for the everyday, his swiftness of thought, are everywhere in these pages. As Derek Walcott said of Murray’s work, “There is no poetry in the English language now so rooted in its sacredness, so broad-leafed in its pleasures, and yet so intimate and conversational.”

Les Murray (1938–2019) was a widely acclaimed poet, recognized by the National Trust of Australia in 2012 as one of the nation’s “living treasures.” He received the 1996 T. S. Eliot Prize for Subhuman Redneck Poems and was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1998. He served as literary editor of the Australian journal Quadrant from 1990 to 2018. His other books include Dog Fox Field, Translations from the Natural World, Fredy Neptune: A Novel in Verse, Learning Human: Selected Poems, Conscious and Verbal, Poems the Size of Photographs, and Waiting for the Past.
Product Details ISBN: 9780374536879
ISBN-10: 0374536872
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 96
Language: English

Praise for Waiting for the Past

"A transcendental collection [that] creates a lived-in world that is both celebrated and lamented . . . it is a wonderful achievement." —Sean O'Brien, The Guardian

"Full of [Murray's] characteristic joy at getting things made. Even when writing about tragedy and suffering he can't quite suppress the sheer thrill of hand-crafting the miracle." —Clive James, The Quadrant

"The poems in [Murray's] latest collection seldom extend beyond a single page . . . yet they show . . . how brilliantly he can compress infinite riches . . . What keeps us going is the excitement in the language, the unpredictability (has there ever been a poet so unwilling to give us what we expect in the next line?) and the entertaining variety of subject matter." —John Greening, Times Literary Supplement

Praise for Les Murray

“For new readers the imperative remains: start immediately, and start anywhere; and wonder, not where Les Murray has been-because for the last quarter century at least he has been waiting to be found, like an undiscovered or, rather, 'undiscovered,' continent-but where you have been, yourselves.” —Michael Hofmann