John Kinsella



Submission to Cordite 101: NO THEME 10

Images courtesy of Jeanine Leane and John Kinsella. From now, and throughout 2021, we’re celebrating 25 years of publishing. Milestones include the publication of Cordite Poetry Review’s 100th issue in February, Cordite Books’ 40th print title, and the new free …

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Brimstone Villanelle

All the sulphur of experiments and gardens of explosions and purifications, the Golden Splash Tooth the subceracea light of the shades and the damp and the sun’s show-through the mimicry of light and shadow-skin. Sun’s action is beneath away from …

Posted in 95: EARTH | Tagged

To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic 

While these pre-federation tropes of settler colonial Australia’s multifaceted and at times contradictory pastoral modes seem to recognise something of their incompatibility with Aboriginal land, they seek their resolution from burial, rather than reciprocal encounter with Aboriginal presence.

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Review Short: Charmaine Papertalk-Green’s and John Kinsella’s False Claims of Colonial Thieves

False Claims of Colonial Thieves weaves together two disparate voices, Charmaine Papertalk-Green and John Kinsella, in a demanding collection that reaffirms the troubling environmental era we are living through. Structurally, the book shifts between traditionally oppositional views – an Aboriginal woman and a white man.

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We Ask More

‘Give we the hills our equal prayer, Earth’s breezy hills and heaven’s blue sea; I ask for nothing further here But my own heart and liberty.’ Emily Brontë Ask everything more of layout under pressure. Ask for depths outside and …

Posted in 86: NO THEME VII | Tagged

A Poetics of a Politics

When delivering a thesis presentation based on rethinking the methodologies for reading Aboriginal Australian poetics, a fellow postgraduate student asked me, ‘Do you consider your thesis political?’

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Introduction to Matthew Hall’s False Fruits

Fruit is the apogee of the pastoral. It’s what the work, the waiting, the ritual and the thanks are for. But the making of fruit is costly and even the ‘natural’ cycle of things will be managed so some factors are privileged over others. In this cycle of post-lyrical poems, Hall questions the form and circumstances of these factors. What are they?

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Activist Journal: Ireland and Germany Extraction, 2015-16

18/9/2015 Rosewood, Schull, Co. Cork, Ireland. Difficult and full fortnight of work coming up before I have to travel solo to London on bus, ferry and train.

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Unbidden: Settler Poetry in the Presence of Indigenous Sovereignty

Influenced and shaped by some fifty years of Indigenous poetry in English, the last couple of decades of Australian settler poetry have advanced prolific attempts to ‘write (oneself) into the country’ (Van Teeseling 209): producing varied and sometimes radical poetries of regionality, topography, climate, and the histories, narratives and landmarks running through and over them.

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Chris Brown Reviews John Kinsella

The poetry of John Kinsella will need little introduction in a forum such as this, though with the recent publication of his Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems, aspects of Kinsella’s biography move more meaningfully into focus. Author of over forty books, Kinsella’s writing career spans three decades. What with the wealth of material available to him, Kinsella and his editors might have been spoilt for choice; though how to bring this wealth into a general coherence?

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Bonny Cassidy Reviews Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead

As Feature Reviews Editor and sometime reviewer for Cordite Poetry Review it is an unusual (and therefore fun) privilege to consider a title in which poetry is critically addressed in the company of other forms. Too often it is it either quarantined within poetry-only criticism, or mentioned as an embarrassing aside to discussions of prose.

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Natural Selection: Ecological Postcolonialism as Bearing on Place

Australian poetry reminds us that we cannot encounter the natural world except by cultural means.

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The Collapse of Space: On Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses

I think making comparisons between Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses and other writers is somewhat distracting of the novel’s achievement.

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Simon Eales Reviews John Kinsella

In the first rabbit poems by the late J S Harry, her rabbit-character, Peter Henry Lepus, is thrown into a number of desolate or alien environments. Peter is ‘dumped … on the Desert of Sense’, ‘comes to … FORTY-THREE BLENDS / OF DUSTED-OFF & SUNDRIED RATIONALISM’, and ‘gets lost in “Calcutta” / on his way to visit Farmer McGruber’s vegetable patch.’ He is displaced most comprehensively in the middle of Iraq, 2003, a warzone that amplifies his naïve and interlopic perspective. Such meaning-deprived contexts let Harry explore belonging, identity, and the stability of concepts themselves. In the poem, ‘Small & Rural’, for example:

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from Lip Trills

Strung out goes hard wired into the signature scarring so shown on arching barks as sampled tolerance slurs and ligatures, he shall have music wherever he goes to stack accumulating pocket money with foxed gatefold and the bells on his …

Posted in 67: A BRITISH / IRISH | Tagged ,

Australian Ecopoetics Past, Present, Future: What Do the Plants Say?

Like the country’s arid interior, contemporary Australian ecopoetics is vast and robust. The expressions of Australian ecopoetry are as varied as the antipodean landscape itself, underscoring the intricate connections between language and ecology in this part of the world. The Mediterranean climate of Western Australia’s southwest corner, the Red Centre of Uluru, the tropical rainforests of Queensland, the temperate Tasmanian old-growth forests and the alpine reaches of the Victorian High Country signify this: rather than a contiguous desert or a terra nullius (as some readers both inside and outside of Australia may still believe), the Australian environment is a mosaic of biota, climates, topographies and regions.

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Paul Hetherington Reviews The turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry

John Kinsella is an Australian poet with a high profile and a long record of achievement, including winning the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. He is also an assiduous anthologiser. Most notably, he edited The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry (2008), one of the more successful of recent attempts to establish an indicative canon of Australian poetry (although this was not, perhaps, Kinsella’s avowed intention with that book).

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Justin Clemens Reviews Poetry and the Trace

Poetry and the TraceSometimes irritating, often informative, occasionally incisive and sporadically genuinely interrogatory, the thoughtfulness evinced by (many of) the writings collected in Poetry and the Trace triggers further chains of association and dissociation. This is a genuinely critical collection in various senses of that word: at once analytic, hortatory, and urgent.

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Scarabs

Ah let’s do new where scarabs click Resonant dust from hashish headlight Forever dream thing sweeps through high brocade And mind is central, serene, lavender mists With a sucker punch below the graft, Below a mortar and pestle imprimatur — …

Posted in 63: COLLABORATION | Tagged ,

Riposte

Coming back to their neck of the woods, a shout was as good as a wolf and a basket
 as full as a boot full of tarnished medallions
 and useless keys, pugnacious as costume
 on a moonlit patio, swilling prosecco
 …

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Buzzkill

In the constant tramline motion of his trainers He took the third and added a choice amendment To their wish fulfilment; but don’t doubt he loved — He did, big time and strong, the tall buildings wavering. Sneaker rocker ripping …

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X Marks the Parataxis: Louis Armand, John Kinsella and Jessica L Wilkinson

Displacement is apparent both geographically and textually in Letters from Ausland by Louis Armand, The Vision of Error by John Kinsella (subtitled, ‘A Sextet of Activist Poems’) and marionette by jessica l. wilkinson (written here all in lower-case and subtitled, ‘a biography of miss marion davies’). All three poets are or have been editors of literary magazines: Armand edits VLAK, out of Prague; Kinsella, SALT; and Wilkinson, Rabbit (why does this name always remind me of Wittgenstein’s drawing of a rabbit that can also be perceived as a duck?) Armand and Kinsella have also collaborated on a number of books.

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Geoff Page Reviews John Kinsella

The Vision of Error: A Sextet of Activist PoemsJohn Kinsella’s latest foray into what has become known as ‘ecopoetics’ raises many more aesthetic and political questions than can be resolved in a short review. As in his Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography (2008), Kinsella makes vivid and considerable use of autobiography. He and his family are presented as embattled eco-pioneers in a region already much destroyed by bad farming practices, partly multi-national in origin, and roamed over at will by township hoons ready to shoot up anything that moves.

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The Ethics of Attention in Peter Larkin’s ‘Leaves of Field’

This paper is concerned with ‘making sense’ in Peter Larkin’s ‘Leaves of Field’, a long poem that articulates a post-pastoral poetics based on ethical valency activated by attention. ‘Leaves of Field’ directs questions at us: How do we look at ‘natural’ objects? What is adequate poetic description? Can there be ethics without an apparent subject? How can we avoid instrumentalising nature poetically and ecologically after human intervention? What is the ‘value’ of human-and-non-human relations? Creating a lyricism not based on self-expression or explicitly only-human community, Larkin answers the challenges of writing innovatively with ethical consciousness by attending minutely to poetic texture and to ‘attention’ itself.

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