Killing the Black Dog

A Memoir of Depression by Les Murray

  • Published: Jul 29, 2020

In 1988, shortly after moving from Sydney back to his birthplace in the rural New South Wales hamlet of Bunyah, Les Murray was struck with depression. In the months that followed, the "Black Dog" (as he calls it) ruled his life. He raged at his... read more

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Details of Killing the Black Dog

Exact title of the book
Killing the Black Dog
Book author
Les Murray
ISBN
9781429991469
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Sep 29, 2015
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
File size (in PDF)
864 kB

Some brief overview of book

In 1988, shortly after moving from Sydney back to his birthplace in the rural New South Wales hamlet of Bunyah, Les Murray was struck with depression. In the months that followed, the "Black Dog" (as he calls it) ruled his life. He raged at his wife and children.

He ducked a parking ticket on grounds of insanity, and begged a police officer to shoot him rather than arrest him. For days on end he lay in despair, a state in which, as he puts it precisely, "you feel beneath help." Killing the Black Dog is Murray's recollection of those awful days brief, pointed, wise, and full of beauty in the way of his poetry. The prose textdelicately balanced between personal and informativegives a glimpse of the imprint that depression can leave on a life.

The accompanying poems show their roots in his crisisa crisis from which, he reports toward the close of this poignant book, he has fully recovered. "My thinking is no longer jammed and sooty with resentment," he recalls. "I no longer wear only stretch-knit clothes and drawstring pants.

I no longer come down with bouts of weeping or reasonless exhaustion. And I no longer seek rejection in a belief that only bitterly conceded praise is reliable." Killing the Black Dog is a crucial chapter in the life of an outstanding poet.

About author

Murray (1938-2019) was a widely acclaimed poet, recognized by the National Trust of Australia as one of the nations treasures in 2012. He received the T. S.

Eliot Prize for the Best Book of Poetry in English in 1996 for Subhuman Redneck Poems, and was also awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry presented by Queen Elizabeth II. Murray also served as poetry editor for the conservative Australian journal Quadrant from 1990-2018. His other books include Dog Fox Field, Translations from the Natural World, Fredy Neptune A Novel in Verse, Learning Human Selected Poems, Conscious and Verbal, Poems the Size of Photographs, and Waiting for the Past.

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