My perennial favorite magazine, The New Yorker, introduced me recently to an Australian poet I should have known years ago judging by the accolades he has received: Les Murray.
His poem, The Tin Wash Dish, referenced in the article, opens:
Lank poverty, dank poverty,
its pants wear through at fork and knee.
It warms its hands over burning shames,
refers to its fate as Them and He
and delights in things by their hard names:
rag and toejam, feed and paw—
don’t guts that down, there ain’t no more!
Murray races from image to image, volleying bursts of short words with heavily accented syllables that cry out to be read aloud. The energy of his lines reminds me a bit of Charles Wright, a long-time favorite of mine, who likewise gets compared to Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Click here for the full text of this poem, plus a number of others by Murray.