PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This interview is taken from PN Review 180, Volume 34 Number 4, March - April 2008.

In Conversation with Les Murray Pauline Smith

Les Murray was born in Nabiac, New South Wales in 1938, and brought up in nearby Bunyah within a poor farming family of Scottish origin. In the first interview, I asked him what it was like to be an only child in the Murray household and how his upbringing had affected him.

LES MURRAY: The Murrays were and are a large family; I was aware of hundreds of cousins, uncles, aunts and other relations, but I saw most of them only sporadically until I was nine years old. My mother's people were more of a rarity in my life. After her death when I was twelve, they gradually grew away from my father and me. When I was born, my mother was 23 years old, my father 29. My mother had her nursing qualifications and had worked in a couple of Newcastle hospitals; my father was a dairy farmer.

My first lessons were by correspondence, at home. I could get through a week of those in a day and have the other six days free. I began attending school at the age of nine, at a one-teacher bush school called Bulby Brush Public, three miles' walk from home. I then boarded briefly in my first high school year, but this came to an end when my mother died, and I took up lessons again only in my second year, at a nice barefoot Central School in Nabiac. I boarded again in the ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image