The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animals), and the potential for language – especially poetry – to represent, and intervene in, those things. Despite the extraordinary variety and output of Kinsella’s career so far, his works (poetry, novels, translations, plays, short stories, autobiographies, works of criticism) share a single, ambitious project: to imagine a relationship between political action and literary speech.
David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems is Star Struck, published by UWA Publishing (2016). Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature's 'Best Writing Award'. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). His album of 'poetry soundtracks', Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His website is: www.davidmccooey.com
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November 2001, no. 236
A Steady Storm of Correspondence: Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood 1943–1995 by Gregory KratzmannReviewed by Brenda Niall