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Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Bard of Bunyah and his Brother Portable Typewriter

Australian poet Les Murray at his home in Bunyah with his
Brother Deluxe 762TR portable typewriter.
The Troglodyte on the
Privacy of Typewriters
Both of Australia's leading poets and Nobel Prize contenders use manual portable typewriters in preference to computers. One is David Malouf, of Brisbane, who uses an Erika 105 (below).
The other is Les Murray, the Bard of Bunyah, who uses a Brother Deluxe 762TR.
Les Murray typing. He can be seen typing and being interviewed about his use of a typewriter (and liquid paper!) here.
Cattle fattening land around where Les Murray lives.
Leslie Allan Murray was born in Nabiac on the North Coast of New South Wales on October 17, 1938, and grew up in Bunyah. As well as being a poet, he is an anthologist and critic. His career spans more than 40 years and he has published 30 volumes of poetry, as well as two verse novels and collections of his prose writings. His poetry has won many awards and he is regarded as "the leading Australian poet of his generation". In 1971 Murray resigned from his "respectable cover occupations" of translator at the Australian National University and public servant in Canberra to write poetry full-time. Murray has described himself as the last of the Jindyworobaks, an Australian literary movement whose white members sought to promote indigenous Australian ideas and customs, particularly in poetry. In 2007, Dan Chiasson wrote in The New Yorker that Murray is "now routinely mentioned among the three or four leading English-language poets". He is almost universally praised for his linguistic dexterity, his poetic skill and his humour. Murray's strength is the dramatisation of general ideas and the description of animals, machines or landscapes. He explores social questions through a celebration of common objects or machines, and dislikes modernism.
His poem "The Privacy of Typewriters", originally titled "The Typist" in 2012 (see top of post) before significant changes were made to it, first appeared in the New York journal Little Star last year.

I am an old book troglodyte
one who composes on paper
and types up the result
as many times as need be.

The computer scares me,
its crashes and codes,
its links with spies and gunshot,
its text that looks pre-published
and perhaps has been.

I don’t know who is reading
what I write on a carriage
that doesn’t move or ding.

I trust the spoor of botch,
whiteouts where thought deepened,
wise freedom from Spell Check,
sheets to sell the National Library.

I fear the lore
of that baleful misstruck key
that fills a whiskered screen
with a writhe of child pornography

and the doors smashing in
and the cops handcuffing me
to a gristlier video culture
coral line in an ever colder sea.


Bill M said...

Great to know writers are still using their typewriters. I love the poem.

Richard P said...

I saw the poem a couple of years ago (and even quote a line in my book) but didn't know anything about Murray. Thanks for the insight. And I love your new header!