John Kinsella

John Kinsella’s most recent collection is Shades of the Sublime and Beautiful, which came out last year. He is the editor of ThePenguin Anthology of Australian Poetry.

Poem: ‘Yellow’

John Kinsella, 14 May 2009

Tim has been filed in Yellow Faction at school. He is frustrated and angry: he wants to be in Red Faction, especially for the Cross Country, which even five-year-olds train for in the Bush. Character building. Robust. Preparatory. I take him out to the garden where I have piled the spent broad bean stalks, grey ropes of pea vines, dead clumps of wild oats, for a quick burning-off. We are...

Head down on the desk, he hides tears that force their way out, warping ink of words he can’t read.Isoglosses: smudges of dialect, script across areas of page, title deeds to land his grandfather collated: blocks of mallee, caprock, breakaways, map the farm: vast cleared spaces, fencelines, patches of scrub, irrepressible cairns of rock picked when paddock-making, maintaining: each year...

Poem: ‘Le Rêve du jaguar’

Leconte de L’Isle, translated by John Kinsella, 10 April 2008

Beneath dark mahogany trees, in the stagnant, Humid air, saturated with flies, hang flowering Lianas coiling up from vine stumps, lulling The splendid and quarrelsome parrot, The yellow-backed spider and wild monkeys. Here is where the slayer of oxen and horses, Sinister and weary, returns with measured Steps along the mossy bark of old dead trunks. On he goes, rubbing his muscular arched...

3. Night Recall Station Road: typed in darkness

Walwalinj silhouette blown sharp          flooded gum overhang a blackly sparkling canker, short shirted birdcall in damp,                     like running the car slow along Station Road to complete a...

Poem: ‘Intermitting’

John Kinsella, 3 November 2005

Outside, intermitting thunder; habituating      the place of lightning a spectrum flourished      where wire stretched thirty-three years ago,      just broken through – rust;      a pair of massive wedge-tailed eagles flew towards each other then counter-circled,...

In​ the first book of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, the heroine remembers her childhood. Orphaned in Italy and educated by her aunt in an English country house, she was given...

Read More

A tear caught in a mussel shell turns to pearl, the Ancients believed. Barry MacSweeney’s The Book of Demons begins among the living with ‘Pearl’, a 22-poem sequence evoking a...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences