John Tranter & Les Murray


I intend concentrating on two books. John Tranter's Crying in Early Infancy: One Hundred Sonnets (1977), and Les A. Murray's sonnet-novel The Boys Who Stole the Funeral (1980). Both books explore the fourteen-line form: and from this unit, both build towards a larger perspective, or 'world'. Here similarities seem to end. The Boys Who Stole the Funeral, as the title-page punningly declares, is 'a novel sequence'. Crying in Early Infancy has no narrative: even the individual sonnets frequently avoid linear development or sequence. It could even be said that Murray celebrates country virtues. Tranter's work is entirely preoccupied with the restless-eyed City. (Both poets, though, actually reside in Sydney.)

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Published 1 May 1982 in Volume 10 No. 3. Subjects: Sonnets, Les Murray, John Tranter.

Cite as: Shapcott, Thomas. ‘John Tranter & Les Murray.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, 1982, doi: 10.20314/als.8718e3346c.