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Taller When Prone

Poems

Les Murray

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“Les Murray has earned his reputation not only as one of Australia’s finest writers but as one of the most engaging poets writing in English today.” Kate Kellaway, The Observer (London)

Taller When Prone is Les Murray’s first volume of new poems since The Biplane Houses, published in 2007. These poems combine a mastery of form with a matchless ear for the Australian vernacular. Many evoke rural life in Australia and elsewhere—its rhythms and rituals, the natural world, the landscape and the people who have shaped it. There are traveler’s tales, elegies, meditative fragments, and satirical sketches. Above all, there is Murray’s astonishing versatility, on display here at its exhilarating best.

“Equipped with a fierce moral vision and a sensuous musicality, [Murray] writes subtly about postcolonialism, urban sprawl and poverty and, in his most intimate poems, reminds us of the power of literature to transubstantiate grievance into insight. (His admirers have argued he ought to be considered for a Nobel.) But he is equally capable of writing emotionally simplistic and strangely soured poems in which the enraged adolescent emerges all but unmediated. This mercurial doubleness can make his work hard to categorize or describe: this is a mind at once revolutionary and reactionary. Or maybe just a poet who’s willing to show more id than most.” —Meghan O’Rourke, The New York Times Book Review

REVIEWS

Praise for Taller When Prone

“Equipped with a fierce moral vision and a sensuous musicality . . . [Murray] writes subtly about post­colonialism, urban sprawl and poverty and, in his most intimate poems, reminds us of the power of literature to transubstantiate grievance into insight. (His admirers have argued he ought to be considered for a Nobel.) But he is equally capable of writing emotionally simplistic and strangely soured poems in which the enraged adolescent emerges all but unmediated. This mercurial doubleness can make his work hard to categorize or describe: this is a mind at once revolutionary and reactionary. Or maybe just a poet who’s willing to show more id than most.” —Meghan O'Rourke, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Mr. Murray’s verse wears, from the waist up, a cosmopolitan, Philip Larkin-like wit. From the waist down, it dresses in worn dungarees and mud-caked boots. There’s a sense of rural astringency . . . Mr. Murray employs both rhyme and meter, but variably—he’s like a man walking a large, randy, omnivorous dog on a retractable leash. He can cinch his words tightly in an instant; he owns one of poetry’s most sensitive verbal choke collars. ” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Equipped with a fierce moral vision and a sensuous musicality . . . [Murray] writes subtly about post­colonialism, urban sprawl and poverty and, in his most intimate poems, reminds us of the power of literature to transubstantiate grievance into insight. (His admirers have argued he ought to be considered for a Nobel.) But he is equally capable of writing emotionally simplistic and strangely soured poems in which the enraged adolescent emerges all but unmediated. This mercurial doubleness can make his work hard to categorize or describe: this is a mind at once revolutionary and reactionary. Or maybe just a poet who’s willing to show more id than most.” —Meghan O'Rourke, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Mr. Murray’s verse wears, from the waist up, a cosmopolitan, Philip Larkin-like wit. From the waist down, it dresses in worn dungarees and mud-caked boots. There’s a sense of rural astringency . . . Mr. Murray employs both rhyme and meter, but variably—he’s like a man walking a large, randy, omnivorous dog on a retractable leash. He can cinch his words tightly in an instant; he owns one of poetry’s most sensitive verbal choke collars. ” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

In the Press

'Taller When Prone' and 'Killing the Black Dog' by Les Murray - Book Review - NYTimes.com
The depression that the poet Les Murray suffered, detailed with self-effacing honesty in his memoir, "Killing the Black Dog," informs the humor in his new collection, "Taller When Prone."
- The New York Times
Les Murray and the Poetry of Depression - NYTimes.com
The Australian poet Les Murray offers a memoir of his depression, and a new book of verse.
- The New York Times

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Les Murray

  • Les Murray is the author of many books of poetry. His collection Subhuman Redneck Poems received the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1996, and in 1998 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, presented by Queen Elizabeth II. He lives in New South Wales, Australia.
  • Les Murray Copyright Peter Solness
    Les Murray
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Taller When Prone

Poems

Les Murray

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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