"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
For more information about the books of Nicholas Murray
click HERE and access his website
Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Monday, 1 November 2021

The Spin Doctor’s Lament

 



The Spin-Doctor’s Lament


Would that Keir Starmer were more of a charmer:

a dab hand at the glad hand like Barack Obama.

For politics are tough and it’s just not enough

to set out your stall for the tumbled Red Wall

as a principled chap who shrinks from the crap.

Those recently Blue care nothing for you

nor the desperate poor slumped on the floor,

in cardboard cities that no one pities

nor the migrant boats that contain no votes:


‘This is England, mate, where it’s simply too late

to raise the red flag or the spectre of Mag;

we’re the much-courted middle, not Waitrose but Lidl.

To the son of a toolmaker we prefer a wiseacre

whose path was beaten through prep school and Eton

and later the fogeyish groves of The Spectator;

he’s the man for our times and his putative crimes

put nobody off: so give us a toff

any day of the week to a well-meaning geek.’



Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Huxley and Orwell: A New E-Book

 Huxley or Orwell? 

The Battle of the Books.

by Nicholas Murray 

a talk given at the 

Presteigne Festival

23 August 2019

 




My talk on the rival dystopian visions of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has just been published as an e-book available FREE from Apple Books.






Friday, 21 May 2021

City Lights: a new poetry collection from Melos

My latest poetry collection City Lights published by the Melos Press is now out.  This wide-ranging and versatile 32-page pamphlet collection contains the longer sequences “The Song of Rhodri” (the voice of an imaginary medieval Welsh bard) and “The World Tree” (poems about trees in myth and reality drawing on Norse legend) as well as poems of contemporary political resonance. From the Welsh countryside to Washington DC and all points in between these poems are both lyrical and engaged.

My recent collections, A Quartet in Winter and The Yellow Wheelbarrow can also be ordered here.





Wednesday, 27 January 2021

St Valentine’s Day approaches

 


























This month’s Reader’s Recommendation from Seren Books. 20 years old and still available for 14th February.  “This mult-faceted jewel is a reader’s delight,” said The Independent on publication.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The latest issue of Scintilla, the annual journal of the Vaughan Association has just appeared and once again it has a wide selection of contemporary poetry as well as articles related to its area of interest. I have three poems in this issue.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Manchester Review praises The Yellow Wheelbarrow

The latest Manchester Review includes a review of The Yellow Wheelbarrow by Ian Pople:

Nicholas Murray has also shown himself to be a fine satirist, as his poem A Dog’s Brexit, showed so well. The Yellow Wheelbarrow is a full-length collection of work and includes work from previous pamphlets as well as new work. Murray the satirist is represented here with such poems as ‘We Must Avoid Cliché’, which, as you might imagine, does not avoid cliché, particularly where the ‘poe-biz’ is concerned.
"This long awaited first collection./Long-touted on Twitter by its friends,/its enemies not yet found, still to stir/from their long sleep of indifference."
What is present even in these lines whose purpose is, perhaps, ‘political’ with a small ‘p’, is the quiet rhythmic pulse with underpins all Murray’s poems.
That assured rhythmic control is often allied with a closely observational sense in Murray’s writing. And the final effect of this combination is a warm lyrical quality to these texts. The poem, ‘Venus’ depicts the painting of a nude by Cranach the Elder in the painter’s studio, in the dead of winter, ‘where ice made dragons // on the window-pane / and lust froze up before the twist / of water left the opened tap.’ Murray’s deft imagination creates the strikingly visual image of the ice making ‘dragons’ on the window. Then he yokes the freezing of lust with the unfrozen water in the tap; and does so, in part, with that nice half-rhyme of ‘lust’ and ‘twist’.
Perhaps Murray’s satire is a natural development of that other ability his poetry has, an ability to look at a scene and depict it with real emotional precision. In that way, Murray’s lyrics share the laser like focus of his satire. The emotional precision of Murray’s poems drive the quiet narrative that leads the poems. And in that precision there is a feeling of what might be right entwined with what might be possible, as in the poem ‘Island’, which is here quoted in full:
Brendan’s monks have lit a fire
where gutted fish brown on whittled sticks,
and God is thanked for the air of a small island.
There is no hint of what’s to come:
the slide of embers, the tilt and scatter
when the whale lifts itself from seeming sleep.