The Quality of Sprawl

Posted by Expert Gadget Reviewer on Wednesday, 12 August 2009

I've come across poems by Australian poet Les Murray here and there - in anthologies, online, and in magazines like a recent issue of Poetry London (Autumn '08, above) - but haven't yet bought a collection of his work. I'm thinking of ordering his Selected from Carcanet soon though, as I was reminded of what I admire in his work reading 'The Quality of Sprawl' in Shapcott and Sweeney's excellent Faber anthology, Emergency Kit, last night: the verbal dexterity, originality and often dark humour, though the unswerving certitude of some of his poems can get a bit irritating. Still, 'The Quality of Sprawl' is a fine piece, and one which uses the conversational, narrative style to great effect, I think.

It's one of his more well-known poems, but for those unfamiliar, you can read it here.