''Some people are born to fatness. Others have to get there.''All quotations
an Australian poet, anthologist and critic. His career spans over forty years, and he has published nearly 30 volumes of poetry, as well as two verse novels and collections of his prose writings. His poetry has won many awards and he is regarded as "one of the leading poets of his generation." He has also been involved in several controversies over his career and has been rated by the National Trust of Australia as one of the 100 Australian Living Treasures.
Murray was born in Nabiac on the North Coast of New South Wales, and grew up in the neighbouring district of Bunyah, where he currently resides. He attended primary and early high school in Nabiac, then attended Taree High School. In 1957 he began study at the University of Sydney, in the Faculty of Arts, and joined the Royal Australian Navy Reserve to obtain a small income. Speaking about this time to Clive James he has said: "I was as soft-headed as you could imagine. I was actually hanging on to childhood because I hadn't had much teenage. My Mum died and my father collapsed. I had to look after him. So I was off the chain at last, I was in Sydney and I didn't quite know how to do adulthood or teenage. I was being coltish and foolish and childlike. I received the least distinguished degree Sydney ever issued. I don't think anyone's ever matched it.” He developed an interest in ancient and modern languages, which qualified him to become a professional translator at the Australian National University (where he was employed from 1963 to 1967). During his studies, he met other poets and writers such as Geoffrey Lehmann, Bob Ellis, Clive James, Lex Banning; and future political journalists Laurie Oakes and Mungo McCallum Jr. Between times, he hitch-hiked around Australia and lived briefly at a Sydney Push household at Milson's Point. He returned to undergraduate studies in in the 1960s, and converted to Roman Catholicism when he married Budapest-born fellow-student Valerie Morelli in 1962. They lived in Wales and Scotland and travelled in Europe for over a year in the late 1960s. They have five children.
In 1971 Murray resigned from his "respectable cover occupations" of translator and public servant in Canberra (1970) to write poetry full-time. The family returned to Sydney, but Murray, planning to return to his home at Bunyah, managed to buy back part of the lost family home in 1975 and to visit there intermittently until 1985 when he and his family returned to live there permanently.
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