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Showing posts from November 24, 2019

Clive James and Les Murray

Tribute by Philip Harvey Obituarists sharpened their quills in 2014 when word had it the death of Clive James was imminent. Since then we have witnessed a late flowering of poetry, reviews and articles tinged with mortality that revealed to the last his Twainian flair for journalistic self-promotion, albeit in the internet age. Now the quills are out in earnest. Les Murray’s death this year was also anticipated in advance, though Les showed himself much more accepting of his temporal departure.   The deaths of these two poets draw attention to their contrasts in style, outlook, and temperament. Clive James and Les Murray demonstrated two very different modes of existence that modern Australians readily recognise and appreciate. Both poets, ambitious for success, kept a close eye and ear on Australia and how it talks. We are the beneficiaries. Clive became the celebrated expatriate, Sydney a beacon in the mental map of a Londoner. He was an Antipodean Augustan, the Bosw