Sunday, November 30, 2008

Les Murray talking shop on National Public Radio

Back on Nov. 9, when I was still on a major Obama high (and had a Nailed Seraphim Art Invitational to worry about), Tony Renner sent the following note:

"Listening half-an-ear to to the best of our knowledge on kwmu this morning, I heard a guy read a poem and talk about religion and thought, 'hey, this sounds like something chris king would be interested in.' Of course, the poet was les murray."

As Tony knows, Les Murray's long poem The Sydney Highrise Variations is the subject of the Fall 2009 Poetry Scores Art Invitational. We are also scoring the poem, mostly as a rock band record (it sounds, in my head, like XTC's English Settlement).

Tony was nice enough to send along the link to the NPR program Les was on. Les is the third segment on a show that opens with Patricia Smith and moves to Jay Parini, before getting to our man. The producer does recognize Les as "a man many regard as the greatest writer in the English language," which is well and true, though we're also told that he "rarely gives interviews," which I doubt.

All I did was mail the bloke a baseball and, next thing you know, he's in my country and we're hanging out and he's writing me long, wonderful letters.

Maybe I'm just lucky.

Speaking of luck, Robert Goetz has agreed to help me shoulder the burden of sifting through the archive of source recordings I have accumulated toward scoring Les' poem. I have a six-pack carton of O'Fallon 5 Day IPA full of strange and wonderful music packed for tomorrow night!


Portrait of Les Murray by David Naseby is from the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.

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