I was sad to hear today of the passing of Les Murray. In September 2015, Hamish Ironside (pictured with Les below) and I went for dinner and a few pints with Les at the Anglers in Teddington when he was over for a reading tour and was staying, curiously, in the same hotel as the All-Blacks who were over for the Rugby World Cup.
We talked of poetry of course, but also of haiku, in which he was very interested, not least because of his friendship with the American minimalist Gary Hotham. Les spoke, too, of his early days in London in the late ’50s and early ’60s, when he hung out with Peter Porter, Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries and Clive James, and also of his more recent friendships with Pascale Petit and other British poets.
The next day at work I kept having to pinch myself that I’d been down the pub with one of the greatest poets of our time.