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Tribute to my Mentors – the late Gloria Benjamin Yates and the very “LIVE” Les Murray!

Gloria and Les are two very, very different poets, both conjurers with words, both larger than life and exuberantly celebrating language with every stroke of the pen.

My favourite poem of Gloria’s and one she signed and retitled at our last meeting (I wish I had the power to illustrate this as it deserves!):



Memorial Collage by Gallit Shaltiel

Memorial Collage by Gallit Shaltiel

A Perfect Moment

I went to walk around the park

before beginning of the dark

and saw a single pink galah,

alone.

In all my life I’ve never seen

the grass and trees so very green

and such a rosy pink galah,

alone.

I’ve seen galahs so many times

in flocks, with friends, or on the wing

but never one so pink and so

alone.

If you’d been there you would agree

and be just as surprised as me

that any bird could be so pink,

alone.

by Gloria Benjamin Yates

[published under GALAH AT SUNSET in J.R.Poulter ed., “Let’s Jabberwocky!”, KBS, 2005 ]

Gloria’s humour and zestfulness, her fearless tackling of any topic and her performances – with Gloria, performance added a whole other dimension to her work. She was a master at delivery – she coloured in her words with her tonal qualities, incredibly expressive face and body language!

This is an tiny ‘taste’ from my favourite poem, “Airscapes” in Les Murray’s latest collection, the evocatively titled “Biplane Houses”. If this appeals, you need to read the whole yourself:

Here be carbons, screamed up
by the djinn of blue kohl highways
that have the whish of the world
for this scorch of A.D.

‘djinn of blue kohl highways’ is breathtaking.

{ Interestingly, Martin Duwell has pulled out part of the same poem in his review : http://www.australianpoetryreview.com.au/0609murray.htm%5D

I am constantly surprised and blown away by Les’ use of imagery – others have paid tribute to this, notably Gorton in his review where he refers to Les and a select few others as “Martians’.

The “Martians’ Australian = poets noted for their wild and wonderful imagery – http://home.vicnet.net.au/~abr/JunJul06/Gorton%20review.htm

Another good review: http://www.smh.com.au/news/book-reviews/the-biplane-houses/2006/04/24/1145730846723.html

Biplane Houses cover
Biplane Houses cover

Australian Poetry – cross section – links worth looking at:

http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/poetry.htm

Poetry books are books to dip into and savour – to refresh the soul or heighten the sensibilities. “Biplane Houses” is one of the best collections by any poet anywhere!

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One response to “Tribute to my Mentors – the late Gloria Benjamin Yates and the very “LIVE” Les Murray!

  1. dbarber59 October 8, 2008 at 1:22 am

    I like this poem! Very nice. As I read more and more poetry, I like to learn from each one.

    Dave Barber
    Albuquerque, NM

    http://finepoetry.wordpress.com

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