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‘What lies beneath: John Kinsella’s graphology poems: 1995–2015’
journal contributionposted on 2021-01-01, 00:00 authored by Paul Hetherington, Cassandra AthertonCassandra Atherton
John Kinsella’s three-volume Graphology Poems 1995–2015 (2016) constitutes a major and shifting set of poetic statements. Partly a discontinuous poetic chronicle of life in Western Australia’s Avon Valley, they are also an investigation of ways in which an activist poetry may inscribe aspects of being, self and experience while protesting against environmental challenges and degradation. As these poems sprawl in many directions, and express overlapping preoccupations; and as they emphasise the unsettled and unstable while affirming what has a continuing importance, so they constitute a series of ethical positions connected to living sustainably and responsibly. They also explore the porous nature of a poetic activism that steps out into the quotidian world while simultaneously refashioning the poetic, challenging and even subverting the language of the contemporary lyric and the contemporary pastoral. The Graphology poems prize incompleteness and the fragmentary, open out to reveal absences and imply other texts, value multiple meanings and represent many of the most important strands of Kinsella’s work.