A new honour for Australia’s greatest poet…

For fellow admirers of Les Murray, here’s some fantastic just-breaking news: the latest international honour to be awarded to our greatest poet. I had it hot from the lips of my agent, Margaret Connolly, who is also Les’ agent. Les will be awarded one of Italy’s top literary honours, the Mondello Prize, next week , in Palermo, Sicily.
The Mondello Prize, which is for literary work in translation, has in the past been awarded to such international literary luminaries as Seamus Heaney, Philip Roth, JM Coetzee, Milan Kundera and VS Naipaul. This is the 30th anniversary of the Mondello prize, and so this will be a star-studded occasion, with previous prize-winners invited (and apparently most of them will be attending), and featuring a celebratory Symposium chaired by the great George Steiner. Les will also be hosted by the American Academy in Rome at a dinner/launch/reading celebrating his work.
You heard it first here!

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cs
cs
2022 years ago

Well done and much more than well deserved Les, our greatest (living) poet. As deleriously special as dear Les is Sophie, my Australian poetic heart belongs to Henry.

Tim
Tim
2022 years ago

Les versus Henry, eh? As much as I love Henry, he’s a bit of a plodder next to Les, isn’t he? That I could plod as well, but you know what I mean. Fredy Neptune as compared to…what?

Anyway, glad to hear of Les’s award.

And Sophie, a George Steiner fan? I’m with you on that too.

Incidentally, isn’t it about time Ellis or someone wrote a movie about Les? What a character.

(I’ve got half a screenplay written about Patrick White if anyone is interested in a non-commercial venture. I always imgained Ruth Cracknell playing White, and have never really thought of decent alternative.)

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Geoffrey Rush as Patrick White might work, although he’d need some prosthetic assistance to get that pugnacious, lantern-jawed look. If Rush can do all those Peter Sellers characters he can do anything.

Ron
Ron
2022 years ago

White’s house in Sydney, where is he lived with his partner for more than forty years, is to be sold at auction in the next week or two.

Requests to the federal and NSW govts to acquire the house for a museum failed and were pointless anyway after the entire contents were auctioned off.

Pity Bradman hadn’t stayed there a night or two: it would have then been guaranteed shrine status.

Wonder if we will ever have another Australian Nobel Prize winner for literature?

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Go in hope Ron. Even in these ghastly times, it is more likely than Howard getting the Nobel Prize for Peace.

You have to look on the bright side.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

well, there’s a lot of Nobel Prizewinners amongst the Mondello prize winners, I think–so I think this is another step towards Les being, hopefully, our next Nobel Prizewinner for literature..
Maybe I should have said greatest living poet–but I don’t think there’s been a gift, and a presence, quite like like Les’ in a long, long time. There have been very great poets, like Judith Wright, Kenneth Slessor, AD Hope, and yes, Chris, Henry Lawson–among others. But I think Les’ gift is rather spooky in its unusualness; it has something almost otherworldly about it, and yet it is amazingly sensual, it really is a ‘translation from the natural world.’

Martin Pike
2022 years ago

God help us, the boganacular republic….

TimT
2022 years ago

AD Hope is the greatest Australian poet, living or dead. Les is too obscure, though he has flashes of greatness; Henry Lawson for me smacks of jingoism.

Hope has a near perfect mix, of sardonic wit, colloquial language, vast subject matter, excellent critical insight, and topical commentary.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Watch it you Elite Tims, or I’ll have to start quoting from my vast storehouse of the People’s Bard all over the blogosphere.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

You are hereby warned. I’ll delete any Henry Lawsons just as quickly as I deleted Darp’s Parrot poem.

Tim
Tim
2022 years ago

Can’t agree about AD Hope – a vision still too distorted by “English eyes”, most especially in ‘Australia’. All that crap about ‘teeming sores’. Gimme a break. And really can’t see Murray as elitist in the same way, though White probably was. There’s a tough love of Australia in Murray and Lawson that’s not there in Hope. Poets don’t have to be patriots but I certainly prefer those who don’t appear to hate the place.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Wonderful news for Murray.

Lawson’s poetry isn’t a patch on his stories, Chris — and they’re some of the best in the world, I reckon. Of all Aus poets – living or dead – think I’d go with Judith Wright — but then I do live across the road from the Judith Wright Memorial Grove….

TimT
2022 years ago

Granted, Hope prefers writing about culture and civilization rather than nature and landscape. He’s a classical poet, not a romantic. (Also a reason why his poems tend to be more global in reach).

He was an excellent critic – and if you have a copy of his essays on Jindyworoboakism and other Australian poetry movements, his attitude to Australia is made clearer. He seems to have been more interested in society and science than in ‘nature’ poems.

The poem you refer to – his most quoted one, about Australia – is just as harsh on the English and Europeans as it is on the Australians: ‘The chatter of cultured apes/they call civilization over there’.

RE: Judith Wright. I do like her, but find her style too gloomy, and often rather pretentious.

Martin Pike
2022 years ago

Did Wright do Company of Lovers? That’s my favourite Australian poem. It’s just cultural cringe to assume that every good aussie poem has to focus on Australia, and the landscape.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Oh Ken of Troppo, you deem me nought
But a mark for your careless scorn.
For I am the echo-less grave of thought
That is strangled before it’s born.

Wen, I seamlessly include the stories within the one great oeuvre.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

And when you hear them stories read aloud — well, then you know they count as poetry….poetry with different ‘seams’, anyway!