Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inwardly dancing: words made exquisite, 30 Nov. 2009
This review is from: New Collected Poems (Paperback)
An absolute treasure trove of Murray's finest work from 1965 to 2002. If you've already read Murray, then of course his work needs no introduction. If you haven't yet experienced the sheer pleasure of just reading his poems aloud, then for just a few bucks, here is your opportunity. Even if you have no interest in bucolic Australia (although by no means are all these jewels to do with that country), even if you find these poems very difficult to understand, you can still appreciate the wonderful use of language. Better still, if you find their meanings hard to grasp, you can read them time and time again as you gradually grasp his moments of epiphany gleaned from his "trance".
Asked why he writes, he answered: "It's wonderful, there's nothing else like it, you write in a trance. And the trance is completely addictive, you love it, you want more of it. Once you've written the poem and had the trance, polished it and so on, you can go back to the poem and have a trace of that trance, have the shadow of it, but you can't have it fully again. It seemed to be a knack I discovered as I went along. It's an integration of the body-mind and the dreaming-mind and the daylight-conscious-mind. All three are firing at once, they're all in concert. You can be sitting there but inwardly dancing, and the breath and the weight and everything else are involved, you're fully alive. It takes a while to get into it. You have to have some key, like say a phrase or a few phrases or a subject matter or maybe even a tune to get you started going towards it, and it starts to accumulate. Sometimes it starts without your knowing that you're getting there, and it builds in your mind like a pressure. I once described it as being like a painless headache, and you know there's a poem in there, but you have to wait until the words form."
The only blemish to this work is the actual book itself. Carcanet have not done Murray's work justice with a very poorly bound publication. The 578-page book has been bound too tight and after a few readings the binding will crack and come loose in parts while remaining too tight in others. Shame on you, Carcanet!
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