David McCooey’s reviews…Dunn and Murray

Of Smurfs and Men: A Review in Five Takes

Review-essay of Megan Dunn’s memoir, Things I Learned at Art School in the Sydney Review of Books

Published 7 March 2022


Comedy and education are at the heart of Things I Learned at Art School by the New Zealand writer Megan Dunn. The blurb describes Things I Learned at Art School as ‘part essay collection, part memoir’. As Wikipedia (which has a few walk-on parts in Dunn’s book) will tell you, the word ‘essay’ comes from the French ‘essayer’, meaning ‘to try’ or ‘to attempt’. In other words, an essay is a ‘take’. Any attempt risks failure, and as Dunn makes clear, Things I Learned from Art School evolved out of such a creative ‘failure’ …

Literary giant’s last work is a fitting farewell to a champion of vernacular

The Age review of Les Murray’s posthumous collection, Continuous Creation, by David McCooey, published March 10

Lauded at home and internationally as “Australia’s greatest poet”, Les Murray was also a controversialist and long-term irritant to the left. Almost three years after Murray’s death, Continuous Creation, a slim collection of more than 50 “last poems”, has been published by Murray’s long-time publisher, Black Inc. Jamie Grant, Murray’s friend and fellow-poet, is not named as the editor of Continuous Creation, but Grant’s prefatory “Note on the Text” makes it clear he acted in an editorial capacity through his choice and collation of the 17 unfinished poems included, and his choice of the book’s title. …

Many of the poems reveal Les Murray’s openness to difference, the marginal and the eccentric. Inset: the cover of Continuous Creation.CREDIT:PAT SCALA

Check here for the full review: https://www.theage.com.au/culture/books/literary-giant-s-last-work-is-a-fitting-farewell-to-a-champion-of-vernacular-20220307-p5a2i0.html