July 21, 2005

Necessary Forgetting

Les Murray in the Paris Review (again), discussing "the necessary forgetting" (of "all the unutterable gaucheries and lunacies of [...] earlier lives [...]"): "We do compose a soul for ourselves, I think, an inner biography that has this grace of selection -- the poem of ourself, if you like." (italics his).

For many (but not Our Les) it's probably a heroic epic (with heroic gaps, no doubt...), but for me it's a poem in many different languages, most of which I don't understood, a confusion of rumours and murmurs. And it's not a poem, more just an unstructured glossolalia...

(And where would Murray be without his cherished self-pitying fantasies of being an outsider, about fighting the Good Fight for the Ordinary Man, of always seeing himself as the little Aussie Battler (urban people need not apply...), of bringing down the elites? Parts of the Paris Review interview come across as an extended primal whine therapy; it makes me feel uncomfortably like I'm overhearing the resentful, self-pitying, belligerent and manipulative self-justifications of a school bully... jeez, Les, when I was a kid in boarding school, it was the country bruisers who beat the shit out of people like me, not the other way around. Such is life).


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