Les Murray

The death of Australia’s greatest poet has moved me deeply. In a world that can seem threatened by the bland cosmopolitanism of noisy people with little to say, Murray had a genuinely vernacular voice that expressed the perspectives of a white rural Australia (‘subhuman, redneck’) that was utterly untouched by movements of dangerous populism. He was a poet of marvellous […]

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Archbishop Stylianos

The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia, Stylianos, reposed recently. Eternal Memory! Among his other qualities he was a poet, and I reproduce a fine piece from his book Australian Passport, translated from the Greek by Vrasidas Karalis. Western Australia On your supine lying body triumphantly are verified all shapes and visions of the Aborigines as they painted them several days […]

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Marilynne Robinsons’ What are we Doing Here? Essays (2018) (ii)

Some of Robinson’s attitudes give me pause. She segues from the slave-owning South to a broad and implicitly anti-English attitude, one fully expressed in what says of Churchill: ‘Did his famous stand against Hitler really amount to no more than waiting for the colonies and the United States to step in?’ This reminds me of the practice of Barak Obama […]

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David Mitchell James’ A Psalter for Prayer (2011)

This book comprises a version of the Psalms, together with some traditional material from the Church Slavonic Psalter, beautifully presented in large type on thick paper, so that it is suitable for public liturgical as well as private devotional reading. The register of the English is sonorous and dignified, its language somehow churchy and inviting a kind of slow lectio divina. It raises some issues […]

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