Waiting for the Past

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Winner, 2015 Queensland Literary Awards

Les Murray's new volume of poems – his first in five years – continues his use of molten language. From “The Black Beaches” to “Radiant Pleats, Mulgoa”, from “High Speed Trap Space” to “The Electric, 1960”, this is verse that renews and transforms our sense of the world.

Shortlisted, 2015 TS Eliot Poetry Prize

'No poet has ever travelled like this, whether in reality or simply in mind … Seeing the shape or hearing the sound of one thing in another, he finds forms' —Clive James, the Monthly

‘A profuse talent for image making and a capacity to fold syntax, sense, and sound into extraordinary verbal forms … [Murray] is able to submit his consciousness to alien states and beings, inhabit them, and bring forth poems of startling originality in extraordinary language.’ —Australian Book Review

‘Murray’s best poems are distinguished by the fact that reading them feels solitary: an encounter not with a personality but with language itself: its work of discovering the world through its patterns of sound.’ —Sydney Review of Books

‘This is Murray the revelator, master of the “hidden away”; his spade turns up so much truth it’s as though he were mining great seams of it, which of course he is, even when as here he is bottoming out on the bedrock of reticence deep in the bucolic soul … Murray is the great mining baron of Australian literature — brash but also breathtakingly brilliant and often both at once — who, having strode like a colossus for decades over a vast empire of open-pits, has in his dotage turned leaf-whistling prospector, content with a glint in the pan.’ —Weekend Australian

‘Les Murray's new book, Waiting for the Past, is not one that his numerous admirers will want to pass up … it's a vintage collection.’ —Sydney Morning Herald

‘No one writes like Murray: so truthful, nakedly emotional, wry, watchful. He’s set deep in the Australian landscape, writing about back roads, vertigo, sliced bread, old typewriters and the persistence of love. Murray is the holy fool of his own poems, and a hero of poetry.’ —Guardian, Best Books of 2015

Les Murray lives in Bunyah, near Taree in New South Wales. He has published some thirty books. His work is studied in schools and universities around Australia and has been translated into several foreign languages.