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An evening with an Australian poet

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Les Murray
Les Murray

There is something strange about a grown-up man weeping in public. But it needs a poet's eye to see and put it in verse.

This is what marks Les Murray out.

Murray's poem `An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow' is about how a town stops to watch a man weeping in public, "not like a child, not like the wind, like a man / and does not declaim it." The whole town had "their minds / longing for tears as children for a rainbow."

Kochi is now getting a chance to meet one of Australia's leading poets in person.

The Chavara Cultural Centre and the Australia-India Council, Australian High Commission, are jointly organising an interactive session with Murray on Wednesday at Hotel Harbour View.

The poet was born in 1938 and grew up on a dairy farm at Bunyah, between Forster and Gloucester on the north coast of New South Wales.

His works appears in leading magazines in Australia and are translated around the world. Many literary awards have come his way, including the Grace Leven Prize, the Petrarch Prize and the prestigious T.S. Eliot Award. In 1999, he was awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry.

He has written about the land and life that exist beyond the political territories of Australia. He wrote in his `Poems the Size of Photographs' that "everything except language / knows the meaning of existence. / Trees, planets, rivers, time / know nothing else."

Lakshmi Devi Menon of Department of English, St. Teresa's College, will engage in conversation with the poet.

Murray will read out some of his poems.

The Chavara Cultural Centre has an association of English poetry lovers who get together every three months to read and enjoy poetry. The association, named Sea Queen English Poetry Blooms, has already released a book of poems titled `Reflections.'

Anand Haridas

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