Dog Fox Field
Les Murray’s poems have consistently garnered praise from critics. His remarkable range, generosity, intelligence, and wit make him perhaps Australia’s greatest living poet. He was born in 1938 and grew up on a farm on the north coast of New South Wales. The author of twenty-one books, Murray displays his virtuosity in diverse forms, including ballads, couplets and sonnets; he has also made a bold attempt to resuscitate the “novel in verse.”
Among the seventy poems in this collection are poems which deal with life on his farm. In “Two Rains,” he writes of the “chased Victorian silver” which pauses to float at “a vague speed in the air.” In “The Cows on Killing Day,” Murray becomes the “me” of one of his herd as the cow is struck “down and dreaming in the bare yard.” Other poems focus on the work of artisans as in “Words of the Glassblowers.” Here a load of glass bottles gets crushed and melted into the “old Egyptian syrup” which will become new vessels fashioned by the glassblower’s breathless skill. There are also poems about spring, accordion music, politics, and Antarctica, and a long poem on the marriage of two of his close friends.
DOG FOX FIELD can only add to the perception of Murray as a poet of singular talent whose authentic voice and tough-minded intelligence offer an absorbing pleasure to the reader.