Les Murray is acknowledged internationally as Australia's leading poet, yet the criticism of his work has not been commensurate with his substantial reputation.These groundbreaking, new essays range across Murray's considerable output, impressive in their depth as well as their coverage as they reveal the riches of his poetry. They examine its lyrical qualities and its remarkable linguistic inventiveness, its landscapes and 'soundscapes', its biographical qualities, its underlying poetics and world view, including the mid-length poems and the recent verse novel, "Fredy Neptune."This volume is an indispensable companion for everyone with an interest in Australian and world poetry. Contributors include outstanding Murray scholars, new and well known, from overseas as well as Australia. Peter Steele writes of Murray 'watching with his mouth'; Martin Leer produces a brilliant study of the 'poetics of place' and the centrality of the district of Bunyah to Murray's world; Christopher Pollnitz looks at the midlength poems, including "The Bulahdelah-Taree Holiday Song Cycle," Nils Eskestad analyses Murray's soundscapes and Peter Pierce his "Narrowspeak"; Line Henriksen places "Fredy Neptune" in the context of works by Heaney, Walcott and Dante; Bruce Clunies Ross discusses Murray's art of 'cracking normal'; Charles Lock contributes an outstanding essay on "Fredy Neptune" and its underlying ethics and poetics; Noel Rowe rescrutinises the poem on the death of Murray's mother, and Carol Hetherington contributes an invaluable checklist.