It must have been in 1953 that I started reading James McAuley's poems. His lyrics were appearing in the Bulletin, Meanjin and various newspapers, and I can still recall the sense of astonished admiration with which I read 'A Leaf of Sage' in Direction, a poem quite unlike anything else I knew in Australian writing. My discovery of McAuley was part of my general dis covery of the Australian poetry of the time, going hand in hand with my own first serious attempts to write. McAuley's lyrics I found especially con genial—their charged reticence, their curious resonance—and I felt par ticularly drawn to a poet who had already translated from the German, and who showed in critical writings and book reviews his enormous knowledge of French literature which I was then studying as an undergraduate.
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