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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Les Murray talking to Image magazine

I have just enjoyed a longish interview with Les Murrray, a mucn-misunderstood Australian poet and thinker. Please take a few minutes to read the interview in full at or

Image: You gave a lecture in Rotterdam about ten years ago called "A Defense of Poetry," in which you talked about poems and "poemes." Has that been published anywhere?

LM: It's in a book of essays called A Working Forest. My idea was that in any human creation there's going to be a participation of the dream mind as well as the logical, daylight waking mind. And there's probably also going to be some kind of participation of the body. They're all going to be enacted in some way. And the more vigorously and simultaneously they're enacted, the closer the approach to the condition of poetry.
Everybody's got a few magical things in their lives. They can talk about them as if they were rational and logical, but in fact their heart is poetry. What's the poem of your life? Well, one of them is your marriage, quite often. One of them is your favorite hobby, or hobbies. And a few other things. Your political affiliation and dreams in that direction. There usually won't be too many. There'll be a few small ones, and a couple big ones. That's the standard equipment of a human soul. I call them poemes. It's a word derived from the same sort of language as "morpheme" and "grapheme" and "phoneme" and so on.

Image: What are your dreams in the direction of politics?

LM: Haven't got any, that's the trouble. I don't believe in politics. I don't think it ever does much good. Even at the best of times, you don't get much out of politicians. Ideology and Hollywood have superseded them, reduced them to obedience.

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