John Kinsella was born in Western Australia in 1963. He is the author of a dozen works of poetry including Full Fathom Five, Syzygy, The Silo, Erratum/Frame(d), The Radnoti Poems, The Undertow: New & Selected Poems, and Lightning Tree. 1997 saw the publication of his experimental novel Genre (international release), and the publication of the English edition of his inter-nationally successful The Silo: A Pastoral Symphony by Arc.
BOOKS OF POETRY
The Frozen Sea (Zeppelin Press, 1983); Night Parrots (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1989); The Book of Two Faces (Perth: PICA, 1989); Poems (Australia: Folio, 1991); Ultramarine (Australia: Folio, 1992); Eschatologies (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1991); Full Fathom Five (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1993); Syzygy (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1993); Erratum/Frame(d) (Fremantle, Australia: Folio/Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1995); Intensities of Blue (Cambridge, England: Folio, 1995); The Silo: A Pastoral Symphony (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1995 /Arc, 1997) The Radnoti Poems (Cambridge, England: Equipage, 1996); The Undertow: New and Selected Poems (England: Arc, 1996); Lightning Tree (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1996); Graphology (Cambridge, England: Equipage, 1997); Poems 1980-1994 (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1997) / Highgreen, Tarset, England: Bloodaxe, 1998); voice-overs [with Susan Schultz] (Kāne’ohe, Hawaii: Tinfish, 1997); The Hunt (Highgreen, Tarset, England: Bloodaxe, 1998); Kangaroo Virus [with Ron Sims] (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press/Folio, 1998); Sheep Dip (Wicklow, Ireland: Wild Honey Press, 1998); Pine [poems by John Kinsella and Keston Sutherland] (Cambridge, England: Folio (Salt), 1998); alterity: poems without tom raworth (New York/Prague: x-poezie, 1998);The Benefaction (Cambridge, England: Equipage, 1999); Fenland Pastorals (Warwickshire, England: Prest Roots Press, 1999); Visitants (Highgreen, Tarset: Bloodaxe, 1999); Counter-Pastoral (Sydney: Vagabond Press, 1999); Wheatlands [with Dorothy Hewett] (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Center Press, 2000); Zone (Fremantle, Australia: e-matters and Freemantle Arts Center Press, 2000); Zoo [with Coral Hull](Australia: Paperbark Press, 2000); The Hierarchy of Sheep (Highgreen, Tarset, England: Bloodaxe 2000 / Femantle, Australia: Freemantle Arts Centre Press, 2001); Speed Factory (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Center, 2002); Lightning Tree (Todmorden, England: Arc, 2003); Peripheral Light: New and Selected Poems (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003); Doppler Effect: Collected Experimental Poems (Cambridge, England: Salt, 2004); The New Arcadia (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005)
╬Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
We look for that point of contact
that crops up in conversation or letters
or in surveys of vocation;
pushing its way round, as if the tunnels before
its limp walls are hollow, expectant.
spider orchid is a nerve centre, powerboard
we’ll plug into from wherever; steel-capped boots
trample underfoot: wood collectors, shooters,
kids tracking enemies. Where enemies
come from varies with technology;
who apportions part of their attention span,
cries just because the music is in a minor key.
Have you seen
the red leschenaultia flowering in islands, focal
cascades amongst the kwongan?
The pupils fire
and the site pale as further away.
of muscles and component parts urging
a gushing out, a bleeding heart. This is every
one of you built up to a head, to my lungs
so tight I barely breathe, my hands and feet
all maps overlaid, cratered, furrowed, riven, creased;
shadow linked to shadow linked to shadow,
of creed and intentionality. Signals, cages, beacons,
the chrysalis of an unopened pink sunray,
or fields in which poisons weren’t understood,
but that’s childhood.
Forty years doles out inlays
and extractions, the draining rock
above cave systems that even now harbour
species of animals unknown to anybody—anybody
at all. Out here, sight shuts down;
inside, scant light amplifies.
Reprinted from Boston Review, November-December 2005. Copyright ©2005 by John Kinsella.