Alex Miller gets profiled.
So, I'm looking at the Ladbrokes site for the odds on the Nobel Prize and I notice this name that keeps showing up year after year: Les Murray. To me it seems obvious, an Australian poet -other than the great A. D. Hope, of course- how good can he be? So, I do some surfing for his poetry and pick the silliest sounding title (after all, I'm just looking for validation that I don't need to bother with Les Murray): "Bat's ultrasound". I start reading, it's a short poem after all:
"Few are vampires. None flit through the mirror.
Where they flutter at evening's a queer
tonal hunting zone above highest C.
Insect prey at the peak of our hearing
drone re to their detailing tee:
ah, eyrie-ire; aero hour, eh?
O'er our ur-area (our era aye
ere your raw row) we air our array
err, yaw, row wry—aura our orrery,
our eerie ü our ray, our arrow.
A rare ear, our aery Yahweh."
My God! Dang if it didn't move me to tears. So much beauty... Now I'm rooting for him to win the Nobel Prize for the next ten years in a row. Thomas Pynchon? pffft! Nicanor Parra? Yeah right...! Haruki Murakami? Oh Please!
I have heard Lionel Fogarty being referred to as the most important Australian poet, although his work does not appeal to me. He's not on the Ladbrokes list, however.
How about the best Australian "Outback" stories, anyone... I ought to ask somebody I sometimes speak to, she's an Aussie who just got published, nothing quite like a local to point out a few recos.
What do you mean by "outback"?
A lot of Australian literature is set outside the city - but that could be the desert, the bush, the jungle, the snow...
Looking for something to read?
Stiffy, be a dear, and book me a ticket, .
Looking for something to read?
Thanks Matt. it didn't seem facetious, just clarifying...
Outback would probably be "the bush" here for me, out along the highways and byeways... or deserted towns of Australia, a sort of Walkabout terrain perhaps. I guess that in itself could be further divided up into something approximately like the following:-
Novels of early settlement
City dwellers heading out into the wilds
Folks who live out in the bush and their various experiences/stories...
I'll look at your examples ... I've written them down, cheers for that, they sound interesting...
Last edited by Hamlet; 07-Nov-2012 at 21:58.
Sydney Review of Books
"The Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney is proud to announce the publication of the Sydney Review of Books, a free online literary review dedicated to long-form literary criticism, in the tradition of the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books.
At a time when opportunities for the in-depth analysis and robust critical discussion of books have diminished greatly, the Sydney Review of Books presents extended essays by prominent critics and writers, examining recently published titles and placing them in relation to the authors' work as a whole, and the larger issues which they bring into play. There will also be a regular feature, 'Critic Watch', keeping a close eye on the practice of reviewers and the reception given to high-profile authors. Though the focus will be on Australian fiction, non-fiction and poetry, consideration will also be given to significant overseas literary titles.
The first release of essays is now online at www.sydneyreviewofbooks.com with new postings at regular weekly intervals until this edition of the Sydney Review of Books is complete in two months time. The preparation of this prototype edition and the commissioning of essays has been supported by the Writing and Society Research Centre, but because the process is an expensive one, the continuation of the Sydney Review will depend on the support of its readers, and on the success of our applications to sponsors and funding agencies.
The contributors include Peter Pierce on Robert Drewe, Nicholas Jose on The Burning Library, Kerryn Goldsworthy on the Australian classic, Evelyn Juers on Michelle de Kretser, Delia Falconer on American novels of the Iraq war, Bernadette Brennan on Brian Castro, Lisa Gorton on Robert Gray, Ivor Indyk on Murray Bail, and Susan Sheridan on Alice Munro.
The editor is the distinguished critic Dr James Ley, who says of the project: 'Australia's critical culture has become thinner in recent years, in large part because there are so few opportunities to write detailed and reflective literary essays for a mainstream audience. I hope that the Sydney Review of Books, by providing a venue for this kind of writing, will encourage writers and readers to rediscover the art of criticism. If readers recognise the need for this kind of publication and get behind it, there is no reason why it can't flourish'."
A new literary magazine is always very welcome news. Thanks, Liam, for letting us know.
I'd like to mention some poets that haven't had their names appear so far:
Christopher Brennan (1870-1932) was a contemporary of Paterson, Lawson and Neilson. He was a correspondant with Mallarmé, and wrote the first free verse in Australia. He's best known for his Poems of 1914, and a handful of his later lyrics.
Later poets include John Tranter, editor of the first incarnation of Jacket, until it was replaced by Jacket 2. John Kinsella, mentioned above, is another major, contemporary poet, as is David Malouf, Jill Jones, and others.
You may also like to look at the fiction and poetry of David Brooks, one of the current editors of Southerly; Judith beveridge, poetry editor of Meanjin, is also good value.