The Hierarchy of Sheep by John Kinsella

by
April 2001, no. 229

The Hierarchy of Sheep by John Kinsella

FACP, $18.95 pb, 85 pp,

The Hierarchy of Sheep by John Kinsella

by
April 2001, no. 229

What is the comparative of prolific? John Kinsella, in this latest extension of his ‘counter-pastoral’ project, manages a tricky balancing act between the extreme givens of the bush and the fashions of art gallery and English Department. A belligerent posturing is implicit in Kinsella’s term, while there is only so far a poet can be anti-Georgics or extra-Georgics or post-Georgics before the game becomes exhausted or obvious. Nevertheless, ‘counter-pastoral’ is an extended essay that takes the pastoral concerns and illusoriness of ancient and eighteenth-century Europe and tests them against our own realities: environmental degradation, both random and systematic destruction of nature by humans, and a seeming indifference on the part of many Australians to doing anything about them. In the midst of this, at least one vital concern ties us to those earlier Augustan times: liveability. At or just below the surface of Kinsella’s poetry run questions such as: what is it to live? how do we live well? how can we live with this? is this the best way to live?

Philip Harvey reviews 'The Hierarchy of Sheep' by John Kinsella

The Hierarchy of Sheep

by John Kinsella

FACP, $18.95 pb, 85 pp,

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.