November 30, 2022

John Kinsella (Australia) 1963

John Kinsella (Australia) 1963

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.

       In 2009 he edited the Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry.

      He was a writer in residence at Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1997. Kinsella was appointed the Richard L Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College in the United States for 2001, where he is now Professor of English. He is also Adjunct Professor to Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, where he is a Principal of the Landscape and Language Centre He will also be involved in the teaching of Australian literature in the Commonwealth Literature course run by the English Department of Cambridge University.

     He is the editor of Salt magazine and Folio (Salt) publishing. He is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and Fellowships, including: The Western Australian Premier's Award for Poetry, The Harri Jones Memorial Prize for Poetry, The John Bray Poetry Award from the Adelaide Festival, Senior Fellowships from the Literature Board of The Australia Council, and a Young Australian Creative Fellowship. His work has been or is being translated into many languages, including French, German, Chinese, and Dutch.

    He was commissioned to create a textual adaptation of Wagner's Götterdämmerung for the 2003 Perth Festival. He is the author of four verse plays (collected as Divinations).

     Kinsella has written several works of fiction as well, including Genre (1997), Post-colonial (2009), Lucida Intervalla (2018), Hollow Earth (2019), and Pushing Back (2021).



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); Love Sonnets (2006); America, or Glow: (A Poem) (2006); Divine Comedy: Journeys Through Regional Geography (2008); Shades of the Sublime and Beautiful (2008); Jam Tree Gully (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011); Sack (2014); Drowning in Wheat (Picador, 2016)


╬Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English 2005-2006




We look for that point of contact

that crops up in conversation or letters

or in surveys of vocation;

slow blood

pushing its way round, as if the tunnels before

its limp walls are hollow, expectant.

The purple-veined

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 writes,

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.

Perfidy, ripple

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,

an anthology

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.

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