A Vivid Steady State: Les Murray and Australian Poetry

By Lawrence Bourke | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
THE FORTY ACRES

Les Murray was born in 1938 in the hospital at Nabiac, a village in the Manning River district of northern New South Wales. Christened Leslie Allan he was the first child for Miriam and Cecil Murray, who lived in the isolated valley of Bunyah about thirty kilometres away. Bunyah is prime dairy country, a lush green and rolling landscape, but for Cecil there was little money from dairying. He worked as a tenant-farmer for his own father who paid him meagre wages which Cecil would supplement with work as a bullock-drover and timber-getter. Miriam had come to the district from Newcastle where she had worked as a nurse. It could not have been easy for her in Bunyah, living away from family and friends and with few material comforts. No doubt the child would have been doubly welcome: as the first of their family, and also as extra companionship for Miriam. The birth, however, was induced, affecting Miriam's three subsequent pregnancies which all eventuated in miscarriages.

-1-

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A Vivid Steady State: Les Murray and Australian Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Abbreviations *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Chapter 1 - The Forty Acres 1
  • Chapter 3 - Evading The Modernities? 36
  • Chapter 4 - The Animal Powers 54
  • Chapter 5 - "Our Sick Beloved Engine" Poetry To Absorb The Machine 74
  • Chapter 6 - "Almost A Father": Men And Women In The Vernacular Republic 100
  • Chapter 7 - "This Country Is My Mind": Landscape In The Vernacular Republic 119
  • Chapter 8 - "Rejoicing In Tongues" 139
  • Epilogue 157
  • Notes 159
  • Bibliography 164
  • Index 170
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