Visitor Feedback

Some of the emails sent to the Editor from visitors to since it went live at the start of October 2000.

Lines Recalled After 26 Years

Dr Leanne Piggott of The University of Sydney (2006)

I am trying to locate a poem by Les Murray I believe I last read in 1980. It had a section in it that referred to the eastern suburbs of Sydney something like an island of lights floating off the coast of Sydney. I have searched high and low but can not find it and in desperation, am emailing you to see if this in anyway rings a bell. No one I have spoken to about it has any recall.

The lines you are looking for seem to be from "Sydney and the Bush" (1977):

When Sydney and the Bush meet now
there is antipathy
fashionable suburbs float
at night, far out to sea.

This is the fifth verse of the seven verse poem, which features in New Collected Poems


For a Friend in Mourning

A Reader (2005)

I am looking for a copy of one of Les Murray's poems to send to my friend whose mother has just died. I cannot remember the title of the poem, but the first line is something like "You don't want them to go, but they do..." It is about the death of Les's dad. It was in a collection released about the same time as Freddy Neptune ...unfortunately I lent my copy to somebody and never had it returned.

The lines appear to be:

Don't die, Dad -
but they die.

The poem is called 'The Last Hellos' and was originally published in Subhuman Redneck Poems (it is now included in the New Collected Poems); full versions of the poem can also be found on several websites.


A Reader from Croatia

Debravko Zebiæ (2002)

First of all, I would like to pay you a compliment for doing such a great job with your web page where one can familiarize oneself with the work of Les Murray.

One can rarely see such a great page with many poems to read or hear. It was today that I learned that Les Murray is Australia's leading poet, and from what I have read so far, I am more and more convinced of that. Here in Croatia Australian poetry is not that popular, and one really has to go at great lengths to find what interests him. I am much familiarized with the American and British contemporary poetry, together with the European poetry, but this is the first time that I am reading verses written by Australian authors. For this reason, I would like to thank you again for making it possible for me to do so.


Refrigerator Parents?

Victoria Mcaffrey (2002)

I was at the Autism Conference in Hobart in 1999. We met a friend of Les's in a pub in North Hobart who, when he discovered where we were from, came the next day to the conference and read Les's poem about autism. It spoke about his anguish he and his wife felt to be called refrigerator parents and knowing that they weren't. I do not know what this poem is called, and I am always telling people about it.

I have a son with autism, he is six and starting school this year; but Les's poem has made me appreciate no matter how hard things might be, at least I have never been through the horror of being accused of freezing out a child I love.

If you could tell the name of the poem and where I could find it I would be extremely grateful ...

The poem is called 'It Allows a Portrait in Line Scan at Fifteen' and is available in the New Selected Poems and New Collected Poems.


A Son of the Soil

Nick Aitken (2001)

I am a drystone wall builder who works in the Highlands of Scotland, with the radio on for company.
Some time ago I listened to an interview with Les Murray on the BBC. This led to me reading his work, and recommending it to many others.
I recognised many echos in his poems, I too am a son of the soil who went into the big world but was happy to get back to the rock.  We are made of the rock we live on. Ironically I have more opportunities to work and travel abroad with my ancient craft than I ever would have staying in the tortured world of Finance.


A Christmas Poem

Kathleen Feeny of Fitzroy Community School, Melbourne (2000)

I am writing on behalf of the Fitzroy Community School. We are a small primary school (65 students) in inner Melbourne. At the end of each year our Year 6 graduating class perform various pieces at a concert for the community. Our Principal, Faye Berryman, has asked everyone to try to locate a poem by Les Murray about Christmas. There is a Year 6 student, Tilly, who is very good at recitation and Les Murray poems suit her beautiful voice. Faye does not remember the title but the subject is Christ walking into the local bar at Christmas. We have not been able to locate this poem despite extensive searches of the local libraries and our own bookshelves. Could you please help us? We need it within the next week or so to give Tilly time to rehearse ... I look forward to hearing from you.

Faye Berryman of Fitzroy Community School, Melbourne (2000)

Kathleen Feeney contacted you on my behalf when I was searching for an angel/Christmas poem for a student of mine to recite at a final get-together of our school community, in December. The poem was in fact The Barranong Angel Case as was suggested by Prof. Peter Alexander. I wish to thank you most sincerely for the effort you made for us. I have obtained the poem from Melb. Uni. and my student, Tilly, is now committing it to memory for the occasion.


Quiet Enthusiasm

Tony Rogers, editor of the Bikwil Newsletter, Australia (2001)

Hello there! I recently visited your site The Poet Les Murray and want to compliment you on what you are doing.  You might be pleased to hear that the site has been applauded in the latest update to the Bikwil website.

.. Bikwil is the home of quiet enthusiasms, where its contributors celebrate in essay, art or poem whatever beguiles them.  The key spirit is one of positivity.  Content includes material on language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies and science, plus a generous helping of humour. 

.. By the way, I'm Les Murray's age, and believe it or not, was at Sydney Uni with him in the mid 50s.  I remember many pleasant conversations with him in the Quadrangle, outside the old Fisher Library.  One day I'll never forget (I can still see the scene now) was when he and fellow poet Geoffrey Lehmann came out with the first issue of their typescript poetry magazine.  It was called kam. Naturally, his older poems carry a special meaning for me, such as the famous An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow and the very nostalgic Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato, a 'spiral of sonnets' written for his old friend Bob Ellis. I have followed his career very closely from a distance, and am proud to have known him. 

Again, congratulations on providing such an excellent resource!


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