Les Murray (b. 1938) grew up the only son of poor farmers in a remote valley in New South Wales. It was a hard background but one that instilled in him a love of the landscape and people of rural Australia which has informed his poetry ever since. Despite unhappy times in his final school, Murray won a scholarship to the University of Sydney. His first published collection, The Ilex Tree, (co-published with Geoffrey Lehmann) appeared in 1965 and has been followed by a steady succession of books that have built Murray a formidable reputation as his country's unofficial national poet.

Favourite Poetry Sayings

"Australia was ruled by poetry for tens of thousands of years - prose only became its ruling principle after settlement in 1788." - Les Murray "Religions are big slow poems, while most poems are short, fast religions." - Les Murray

Les Murray


MISSING PLAYER !
To listen to the Archive's recordings, software called Adobe Flash Player (version 10) needs to be installed on your computer and you need to enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

You can get it, free of charge, here.

These poems come from a special recording for the Poetry Archive: View full track listing
Prizes
  • 1980 Grace Leven Prize


  • 1990 Grace Leven Prize


  • 1994 nomination for the Oxford Chair of Poetry


  • 1995 The Petrarch Prize


  • 1996 T.S. Eliot Prize (winner), Subhuman Redneck Poems
    http://www.poetrybooks.co.uk/

  • 1999 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry